The owner of a Queensland abattoir wants activists charged after they stormed his business, chained themselves to fixtures on the floor of the killing room and stole three sheep.
More than 20 people invaded Carey Bros Abattoir near Warwick before dawn on Monday as part of a national day of action by animal rights activists.
Related protests across the nation sparked dozens of arrests, with activists chaining themselves up in Melbourne’s CBD, and nine charged with trespass after storming a NSW abattoir.
The co-ordinated protests had the prime minister labelling activists ‘‘green-collared criminals’’ and demanding they face the full force of the law.
But Queensland police say they cannot act until the abattoir’s owner files a complaint.
Police have admitted they knew protesters were planning something, and had specifically rostered on staff in the Warwick area to deal with the anticipated action, while also warning local business owners to secure their sites.
Officers who were part of that operation even carried out random breath tests on activists as they made their way west.
But police say they did not know who the protesters would target until they got a call about 3.30am to say people had invaded the abattoir.
‘‘The activists that were within the premises did have chains and padlocks,’’ Acting Inspector Jamie Deacon said.
He said the situation was resolved peacefully, and the protesters left of their own accord after negotiating an exit that involved the surrender of three sheep.