Preparing for and managing trespassers

05 April 2019

Following the launch of the Aussie Farms online interactive map earlier this year, as well as recent occurrences and ongoing threats of animal activist intrusions, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), in partnership with the red meat industry and National Farmers Federation (NFF), continues to provide information and support to red meat producers.

This includes background information about the Aussie Farms website, what actions producers should consider taking now and what to do if producers encounter trespassers on their property.

NFF and the red meat industry is deeply concerned that personal details of individual properties are featured on the Aussie Farms site - given that many of these farms are also family homes. Trespassing on farms or entry without prior permission presents a substantial biosecurity risk that could be detrimental to the health and well-being of livestock. It also presents a safety risk for farming families and their employees.  Producers are urged to discuss within their enterprises what they will do in the event of a trespasser entering their property and develop an action plan.

If you do encounter a trespasser on your property, the following steps are recommended:

  1. Contact the police to report the intrusion.
  2. Ensure the safety of your family, farmworkers and livestock. Take immediate action to inform everyone on the property of the intrusion.
  3. Request that the trespassers identify themselves and explain why they are on your property.
  4. Inform them the police have been called and calmly ask them to leave your property.
  5. Record trespasser activities – footage of faces and vehicle registration numbers. Note any identifying features of the trespassers, especially if they interact with livestock or enter your house yard.
  6. When able, compile a written record of what happened and update your Biosecurity records. For more information on Biosecurity planning refer to these resources or contact Integrity Systems Company on 1800 683 111.

For more information on animal welfare and biosecurity, contact your local RSPCA and/or state/territory department in charge of agriculture.

Unauthorised entry onto your property is a potential risk to your biosecurity, to animal health and welfare and to the safety of your employees and family. Members of the public have no right to enter private property or carry out property inspections without prior permission.

Be vigilant, keep an eye out for unusual activity and take note of unauthorised vehicles on or near your property. Speak to your neighbours and ask them to be alert. If you or your staff encounter trespassers on your property, you should stay calm and act in a rational manner.

Three simple steps that producers can take in relation to the Aussie Farms website:

  1. Is your property on the farm map? Check the map by visiting aussiefarms.org.au.
  2. Request removal. Contact Aussie Farms to remove your details from the site.
  3. File a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Importantly, if you find images or other media linked to your property that may be the result of trespassing by activists, you should promptly refer the page to the police, via Crime Stoppers.

More information is available via the NFF here.

Background information

Earlier this year, animal rights organisation Aussie Farms publicly released an interactive online map claiming that it contains the exact locations of thousands of farms and abattoirs and includes photos, videos and documents. The locations mapped are not limited to red meat and cover all types of agricultural industries as well as the pet industry.

The information has been collected over several years and we understand that previously has only been available to a number of activists. The map includes inaccurate and out of date information.

The website is registered in the name of Aussie Farms Incorporated – an incorporated association registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission.

Red meat producers should consider the advice put forward from the NFF.

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