Animal Activists: New Farm Trespass Law Just a ‘Smokescreen’

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The Australian government updated the Animal Welfare and Trespass Legislation, but animal activists say this is just a ploy for the government to put them in jail.

The Western Australian government passed the Animal Welfare and Trespass Legislation Amendment Act 2023 in March 2023. This amending act sought to change some critical details of the Animal Welfare Act 2003 (AW Act) and some details of The Criminal Code and the Restraining Orders Act 1997.

The new laws aim to discourage unlawful entrance to farms and enable more protection for the welfare of farmed animals. Previously, offenders could face 1-year imprisonment, but with the new law, the offender could be imprisoned for a maximum of two years and charged with a $24,000 fine if the court deems the offence as an aggravated trespass.

West Australia Attorney General John Quigley states, “The Government’s new laws strike a balance between protecting our agricultural sector and ensuring that the community can have confidence in the animal welfare practices employed by the sector.”

Quigley added that the enhanced law would deter animal activists from using the lack of transparency in abattoirs as a reason for their illegal trespassing and that they would face more significant consequences.

But many animal rights activists are firmly against the amended act, claiming that the changes were just implemented for the industry to keep their existing inhumane practices to keep costs and prices down. This will, in turn, help many Australians facing the challenge of the growing cost of living. Nowadays, a typical Australian rack up debt to make ends meet.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party upper house candidate, noted that she and the rest of the party would want to make structural changes to the existing laws and acts. Waters stated that they would like to end taxpayer funding of industries that brutalise animals and have a significant carbon footprint alongside the mining industry.

The candidate added that the Animal Justice Party is looking into animal welfare, more affordable housing, and gambling reform. Waters said, “I don’t consider the Animal Justice Party a ‘single issue’ party. Animals are not a homogenous group. Animals cannot be regarded as a single issue when considering the range and diversity of species on this planet. Our platform is animals, people, and the planet. We are interconnected, and humans disregard that at their peril.”

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