THE state’s rural crime leader has urged people in the Tamworth region to report to police any incidents of trespassing, in the wake of the Aussie Farms map scandal.
Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside said that, while he would not weigh into the issue of the map itself, police would not tolerate offences related to entering private property.
“Whether it be an illegal hunter, a thief or an animal activist, we’ve got zero tolerance with respect to ... trespass, malicious damage, unlawful use of surveillance devices or intimidation to property owners,” he said.
Det Insp Whiteside’s comments came after an animal activist group, Aussie Farms, published an interactive map showing the locations of “factory farms, slaughterhouses and other animal exploitation facilities across Australia”.
The website urges people to submit information about individual businesses, including photos and videos, “to force transparency on an industry dependent on secrecy”.
“We believe in freedom of information as a powerful tool in the fight against animal abuse and exploitation,” it states.
National Farmers’ Federation president and Liverpool Plains farmer Fiona Simson said the implications could be dire and has censured the group’s actions.
“Farmers’ privacy, their right to farm and – most disturbingly – their safety and that of their families and animals are at risk,” Ms Simson said.
“Australian farmers have had enough and we will not stand by and watch attempts to destroy farms, families and rural communities.”
Det Insp Whiteside said any farmers who experienced trespassing, property damage or intimidation were urged to call police – and triple zero if it was an emergency.
He said people should “be mindful of their own safety and, if possible, record any actions of people if it’s safe to do so”.
“This is also a reminder of the benefits of CCTV – that gives a clear picture of what’s going on, and can be monitored remotely to allow people to have some normality in their lives.”