By Jeremy Sollars
Police have charged 11 people with trespass and drug offences following animal activist ‘farm invasions’ in recent weeks, including at Carey Brothers abattoir at Yangan east of Warwick and a dairy and feedlot property at Millmerran.
A Queensland Police media statement issued today, Wednesday 17 April, says detectives from the Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural), State Crime Command, together with officers from the Darling Downs, Moreton, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast have charged 11 people “following investigations into alleged trespassing incidents at agricultural locations in late March and early April”.
Carey Brothers abattoir owner Greg Carey lodged a formal complaint with police late last week, saying his staff had been “traumatised” by an incident early on Monday 8 April where 20 activists illegally gained entry to the abattoir and chained themselves to equipment.
They left shortly after 6am after being given three of Carey Brothers’ own lambs, which were later transferred to an animal shelter in Brisbane.
“A total of 11 people were arrested at locations across South East Queensland yesterday afternoon and overnight on 18 charges, including unlawfully entering farming land (trespass) and drug offences,” today’s police statement says.
“A 29-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man were previously charged with unlawfully entering farming land (trespass) on April 5 and were bailed to appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on May 9.”
Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker of the Drug and Serious Crime Group, State Crime Command, said the charges followed formal complaints from the owners of properties targeted by unauthorised protests.
“The Queensland Police Service respects the right of people to protest in a peaceful manner, however we have a duty to ensure the safety of protesters, farm workers and property owners,” Detective Superintendent Wacker said.
“Unauthorised protests in and around farmlands and industrial areas create significant personal and workplace safety risks.
“We will take enforcement action whenever necessary to ensure the safety of the community and to protect the rights of people to feel safe in their homes and at their place of work.”
Investigations are continuing.
Farmers and ag industry groups have slammed the State Government for failing to get tough on animal activist farm invasions and protests, saying on the spot fines of a few hundred dollars will not deter them and calling for actual jail time.
Read more in this week’s print edition of the Free Times, out tomorrow, Thursday 18 April.
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