NEW England MP Barnaby Joyce has told a press conference in Tamworth this morning that animals activists caught breaking into farms will be targeted under tough new biosecurity laws.
The federal Agriculture Minister said he did not condone camera-wielding vigilantes "circumventing the law of the land" by entering properties and secretly filming operations.
The crackdown has drawn criticism from animal rights groups who claim the covert operations are crucial in detecting instances of animal abuse.
But Mr Joyce said monitoring of on-farm animal treatment practices should be left to the proper authorities - the police and RSPCA - to handle.
"It's really important that we understand that people who break into someone's property, break into someone's dairy, break into their poultry farms are breaking and entering - they're vigilantes," he said.
"If you believe that you have the right to break into someone's private property because it's your moral desire to do so, then why stop at farms? These vigilantes could use exactly the same argument to break in and put a camera in someone's house.
"If you believe that something is going wrong, you inform the police, you inform the RSPCA, you don't take it into your own hands."