Farmers urged to have their say

By Country News

Farmers, supply chain businesses and agricultural professionals are being encouraged to make a submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Activism before it closes next week.

VFF president David Jochinke said the inquiry was a chance to tell the government how illegal trespass, interfering with businesses, property damage and livestock theft had already or could affect your business and the industry as a whole.

‘‘Every farmer, every livestock transporter, every saleyard operator, every abattoir owner and every consumer that supports farmers can and should contribute to this inquiry,’’ Mr Jochinke said.

‘‘Animal rights activists and their supporters will also be making submissions.

‘‘We cannot allow their voices to drown out those of farmers and agricultural professionals who are directly impacted.’’

Concerns about the safety of farmers and their families, farm biosecurity, the health and welfare of animals and the economic viability of farm businesses have grown louder following a spate of trespassing by activists, who have also stolen livestock or been given livestock to leave the property.

‘‘There is also a significant stress and mental health impact that activists do not consider,’’ Mr Jochinke said.

‘‘You do not have to have experienced an invasion to feel legitimately concerned and stressed about the threat of one.’’

The Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Activism on Victorian Agriculture is being conducted by the Victorian Parliament’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee.

■Submissions can be made online at: before Friday, August 2.