It is the kind of social media commentary that live export industry leaders believe goes too far and demands public condemnation.
A post that appeared on an Animals Australia Facebook forum dealing with the delivery of pregnant cattle to Mauritius suggested the introduction of Foot and Mouth Disease in Australia as a strategy to shut down the live export trade.
The comment, posted under the name James Ryan, said: “This is just going to far, I wouldn’t blame someone for bringing in foot and mouth tooo cripple this sickeing industry once and for all” (sic).
The post triggered immediate condemnation from live export industry supporters, with one, Matthew James, posting soon after: “That James would be treated as terrorism, AA (Animals Australia) should delete that comment”.
Within hours of its publication on Tuesday the post had been removed, and the Facebook account used to place it also appeared to have been deleted.
Rural blogger and live export advocate Jim McDonald posted on his blog on Tuesday that it was not the first time an anti-live export supporter had advocated the spread of FMD as a means of stifling the live export industry.
He said he had previously contacted AA chief executive Glenys Oogjes and asked her to publicly denounce such views, but said the organisation had not done so. “Worse than saying nothing, they seem perfectly fine with people openly chatting about it on their Facebook page,” he wrote.
Australian Livestock Export Council chief executive officer Alison Penfold said the comment highlighted the level of extremism that existed in the animal rights movement.
“That is appalling comment from an individual who supposedly is an advocate for animal welfare and a sign of the extremists that operate within the Animals Australia movement.
“At worst it a threat of bioterrorism, at best a sign that they’re willing to sacrifice so much just to end something that they are philosophically opposed to.
“I just think it is an appa;ling comment, and frankly it is the sort of comment that deserves public condemnation from those involved in the animal activist movement.”
Glenys Oogjes told Beef Central on Thursday that the organisation was concerned that the comment had been posted on its page and found it "totally unacceptable".
“We were alerted to the comment, however when a staff member checked for the comment it had already been removed – presumably by the person who posted it,” she said.
“That person’s profile had also disappeared.
“Animals Australia advocates only peaceful means of reform, and such comments are totally unacceptable.
“Such comments have not to our knowledge been posted on our FaceBook page or any of our Animals Australia forums previously.
“As already stated – Animals Australia totally opposes any suggestion of the introduction of FMD.”
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