Farmers urged to beware the rise of the ‘predatory activist’

James Nason, 18/02/2019


VEGAN activists getting in the faces of livestock producers already dealing with the pressure of managing livestock through the impacts of droughts, floods or fires – in some cases all three – what could possibly go wrong?

Vegan activists in Western Australia have been stepping up ‘direct action’ campaigns to end livestock farming in recent months by protesting in saleyards, in a Perth steakhouse and filming into farms.

A confrontation captured on video, in which vegan activists ignored a Harvey farmer’s demands for them to stop filming into his property, and which concluded with the farmer firing shots from a shotgun into the distance away from the activists, generated widespread media attention last Friday.

The activist involved, James Warden from the group Direct Action Everywhere, used the opportunity to tell 7 News that the farmer’s actions were representative of “violence by farmers”,  telling the news crew he was not surprised “they are now targeting and acting in violence towards human beings”.

The event prompted federal agricultural minister David Littleproud to issue a statement “calling for calm“.

‘Predatory activism’

Rural leaders and commentators see the recent events in WA as part of an alarming broader trend  – the rise of the “predatory activist”.

The Green Shirts Movement of WA, which says it was formed to represent farming families “who feel victimised, unprotected and frustrated” in the face of relentless campaigns and invasions, believes activists are deliberately targeting farmers they believe will provide the sort of hostile response they are hoping for on video.

“What if the predatory activist selected this farmer,” the group asks in a social media post.

“Did this farmer fit a “type”?

“He’s young, fit, tattooed, sleeveless, masculine…. did this poor farmer fit a profile that this Predatory Activist was hunting for?”

The group suggested activists may now be stalking farmers to learn their routines and habits for the purpose of trapping them in an ‘intended scenario’.

‘Our fundamental right to farm is under attack here’

In comments to Beef Central, Cattle Council of Australia chief executive office Margot Andrae raised similar concerns about activists deliberately provoking livestock producers in order to capture a reaction on film.

Cattle Council of Australia CEO Margo Andrae.

“Our fundamental right to farm is under attack here,” she said.

“Farming families’ safety and privacy isn’t a play-thing for extremists who think illegal and often dangerous trespass is acceptable.”

She said urged producers who found themselves being confronted by activists to maintain a level head.

“Activists want producers to react in a hostile manner when they are ambushed on their own property, so as angry as anyone would be to find a trespasser at their home or place of business, remaining calm and contacting the authorities is the best course of action.”

Ultimately, the best course of action was to continue farm livestock in a responsible manner which would ensure activists had nothing to film.

“With drones and smartphones, all segments of the supply chain act as a window into livestock and red meat industry.

“Our industry must operate transparently and we must be accountable for the standards we adhere to.

“If activists find the damaging footage they are looking for at a cattle property, a feedlot, saleyards, on a truck or in an abattoir, they will keep returning to find more.

“If we truly have nothing to hide, the would-be saboteurs will lose interest.”




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  1. Brian Gray, 22/02/2019

    The more media coverage we give to these fly by night activists the more powerful they become.

  2. Paul Franks, 19/02/2019

    One problem is many stockyards are located adjacent to public roads, this was done back in the day for access reasons before everyone had access to instant worldwide social media.

  3. Linda Cowan, 19/02/2019

    Most livestock producers do manage their livestock in the best interests of the welfare of their animals but unfortunately it is not difficult for footage to be recorded that could be construed – or manipulated to suggest animals are being handled inhumanely. Besides it being a blatant invasion of privacy and a biosecurity threat this is what we are up against. In addition it has been alleged activists are being paid quite handsomely for this sort of footage.

  4. Barry Simpson, 19/02/2019

    Your accurate labeling of ‘Predatory Activism’ is 100% genuinely authentic. These idealist groups are slowly gathering more momentum with their one sided and unrealistic logic. The actions in this latest video prove beyond any reasonable doubt, that these vegan activists will keep pushing the boundaries of invasiveness and privacy and, like any cancer, it needs to be cut out immediately before it becomes infectious.
    Beef Central, I sincerely hope your contribution to help combat this nonsense is quick and effective.

  5. Catherine Piggott, 19/02/2019

    If Sonia Kruger can be brought before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal then why can’t Animals Australia? Vilification of farmers is the same as vilification of Muslims.

  6. Kayleen Bromley, 18/02/2019

    In my view, this is stalking. I am not a lawyer but I am sure there are other illegalities that these groups are committing. I suggest that farmers action groups take out court orders on all these groups to prevent this type of violence and bullying against them. Further to this, the best form of defence when you have a camera in your face or a bully at your back gate is to say nothing and act normal and go about your usual business and ring the police. I know it takes courage and determination to do that when all you want to do it retaliate. I totally sympathise with these farmers saying nothing made my bullies of nearly 10 years even more frustrated than ever, finally, they went away but I am not without PTSD and injury over it.

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