Victoria's top farm crime police officer has told the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria annual conference, force command took a very serious view on animal activism, trespass and protests.
Victoria Police Livestock Theft and Farm Crime Head of Practice Superintendent Peter Greaney told the conference vegan activism, such as what occurred last month, was not going to go away.
Last month, activists blocked streets in Melbourne and protested outside Victorian abattoirs.
"In regards to those overt activities, police can get there, en masse, and deal with them," Superintendent Greaney, who was formerly based in Warrnambool, said.
"It's the covert acts that I worry about, and that's where I need your help, to help us police those particular acts."
It's the covert acts that I worry about, and that's where I need your help.Peter Greaney
He said Victoria Police's Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton was very passionate about combatting farm crime and animal activism.
"He is being briefed on what we are doing at the moment, what we can do in the future to change legislation, in regards to protecting you, your families, your employees and livelihoods," he said.
"There is a whole suite of laws we can use and we will use."
He said in the first instance, farmers should always contact the police.
While some stations were not staffed 24 hours a day, farmers could always call triple zero. "If you see someone on the property that shouldn't be there, call the police and tell them there are people on your property that don't have the authority to be there and ask officers to come out," he said.
Farmers were also in their rights to ask people, who had not been invited onto the property, to leave.
UDV president Paul Mumford said the dairy industry must respond to the threat of farm invasions, with a strong, coordinated strategy.
"Animal activists disrupt legal businesses, risk animal health by breaching biosecurity, and use force and intimidation in pursuit of their personal beliefs," Mr Mumford said.
"The dairy industry must respond to the threat of farm invasions with a strong, coordinated strategy."
UDV members voted unanimously for the organisation to 'lobby to ensure that harsher penalties are put in place to deter animal activists from partaking in activities that ... put stock and farming families at risk'.
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