One hundred vegan animal rights protesters trespassed on a Queensland feedlot last week. So, reports of activist demonstrations expected to be held across Australia early next week had the NSW Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall preparing a statewide response.
Just across the border, police officers from Millmerran and Dalby responded to reports that protesters had arrived at Lemontree Feedlot at 11.45am on Saturday, March 23.
Aside from drought, for me, this is my second biggest focus area.Adam Marshall Minister for Agriculture
Protesters swarmed the feedlot, took photographs of animals and then left the site. There was no damage, no injuries or threats and no arrests. Last month, the Wonga Plains feedlot at Bowenville near Dalby was the subject of another video claiming mistreatment of cattle.
NSW Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said last week's behaviour was totally unacceptable.
"I can't speak for the Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud, but I would imagine it would be just as concerning for him as it is for me. This sort of action poses such a real and very serious threat to primary production in our state," Mr Marshall said.
"It presents a safety risk, it presents a mental health problem, but the real issue is the bio-security threat, which not only threatens that farmer's operations, but potentially the whole sector if any diseases or plant matter that's bought onto site is transmitted.
"Aside from drought, for me, this is my second biggest focus area. It is an ongoing threat to our primary industry sector."
Mr Marshall said he wanted to review legislation surrounding the whole issue.
Mr Littleproud thinks the onus to create serious penalties for trespassing on family farms was on the States .
"Nobody would like to see a stranger show up at their residence where their children live and I'm genuinely worried there will be a serious incident," he has said.
Armidale Police Superintendent Scott Tanner said there were a number of laws surrounding rural trespass.
"Those fines can be up to $5500 each, and on top of those there are also the offences of Intimidation, Enter enclosed lands to commit indictable offences which carry custodial sentences," he said.
Supt Tanner said people should think carefully before committing these offences because they were not just monetary offences in NSW, and could be life changing convictions.
I strongly condemn any illegal trespass or activism on farms in NSW as well as any activity that encourages such abhorrent behaviour.Adam Marshall Minister for Agriculture
Next week's demonstrations mark one year on since the release of the film 'Dominion', a documentary that claimed to "expose the dark underbelly of modern animal agriculture".
In January this year, Aussie Farms, released an online interactive map detailing the locations, operations and contact details of farms around Australia, causing widespread criticism from farmers and industry groups.
Mr Marshall said the release of the website and the 'documentary' film, potentially encouraged people to enter farms illegally.
"I strongly condemn any illegal trespass or activism on farms in NSW as well as any activity that encourages such abhorrent behaviour," he said.
"We cannot sit idly by as the safety of our farmers and their families are put at risk. That's why our Government has committed to urgently reviewing trespass laws and associated penalties, ensuring we can effectively protect farmers against such extreme and alarming methods of activism.
"The Government has also committed to appointing an Agriculture Commissioner to work with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner to support farmers whenever their right to farm is under threat."