Ferocious debate erupts over ‘vegan terrorists’


Colin Bettles, BEEF Central (AU) 

September 16, 2019


A TEMPESTUOUS political debate has zeroed-in on the rights of farmers to produce livestock for human food consumption, without suffering endangerment due to escalating threats and illegal intimidation driven by “vegan terrorists”.


A ferocious war of words erupted last week as new laws progressed to pass Federal Parliament and deliver on a Coalition Government election commitment to introduce tougher penalties and better-protections for the agriculture sector, to tackle heightening animal rights activism throughout Australia.


During a frequently colourful and passionate Senate debate, One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson said she was thankful the recent spate of “vegan terrorism” hadn’t yet resulted in any “loss of life”.


“The consequences of this vegan terrorism, by a group that is otherwise seemingly not making any true contribution to society, can be financially damaging, harmful to livestock and, in cases, has created great fear among family members,” she said.


“Thank God that there has been no loss of life at any time as a result of these illegal actions.”


Senator Hanson said to actually call the protestors heroes was “disgraceful” and stressed they were “breaking the law”.


“The true heroes are the people who fought for this nation in battle to give us freedom and what we have today,” she said in response to contribution from the Greens.


“These (activists) are people who are going out purely to incite violence and to trespass on other people’s property.


“These protesters have to realise that they can’t just go out there and shut down businesses and destroy people’s lives at their own whim because it doesn’t suit them that animals are used in the food chain – that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.”


Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie was typically forthright in backing farmers saying the Federal Government’s new laws were a “firm but necessary response” to recent incidents targeting Australian farmers, their families, their workers and their businesses.


“These incidents were enabled and encouraged by the sharing of information online and by inciting people to harass and intimidate law-abiding Australians,” she said.


“Animals have been killed and maimed as a result of these protesters’ behaviour, not to mention the human cost of those actions, being the mental damage done to families and workers, and indeed the economic damage, with businesses being closed down because of the ongoing harassment by people who think their views of how the world should run are more important and should be prioritised over the views of other Australians – specifically, those who farm livestock in this country.”


Senator McKenzie said the Government wanted to ensure farming families could go about their business of raising livestock and keeping high animal welfare standards and those who seek to damage such aims would “feel the full force of the law”.


“Farmers are a critical part of both our community and our economy and they should not be subject to illegal invasion of their property – they deserve to feel safe in their homes and at work,” she said.


“It’s not a badge of honour to walk around and say: ‘Yay! I’ve been locked up for sticking it to the man and sticking it to Australian farmers.’


“You’re actually a criminal.”


“I’m yet to meet a vegan I don’t like – but I do not expect them to tell me I do not have the right to enjoy a beautiful Angus porterhouse whenever I like.


“That is what the Australian body politic should be about – having a robust democracy where the meat-eater and the vegan can sit down as one, enjoy each other’s company and debate respectfully their differences about food production – not thinking that it’s okay to go into each other’s homes, onto each other’s property, and actually harass, intimidate and put people out of business.”


Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt said the Federal Opposition respected and supported the right to protest but opposed “extremist protesters” that repeatedly invaded agricultural properties and other related businesses in an illegal fashion, “putting lives in danger”.


“Labor are prepared to support laws to better protect farmers and others involved in the agriculture sector from unlawful protests by extremist protesters on their land and on their premises,” he said.


“If the Greens want to stand side by side with extremist protesters who issue death threats, who issue threats against children, who publicise the street addresses, premises and locations of families and children, and encourage people to take action against those individuals, well, that’s a matter for the Greens.


“But that is not something that Labor supports – while we do of course support the right to legitimate civil disobedience and protest.”


ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja attacked Labor and the Greens, saying the legislation represented a choice for Parliament on whether they sided with “hardworking, lawabiding farmers” who produce food and fibre for the nation or sided with “vegan terrorists”.


“The Greens have made it clear, to their credit, that they are on the side of vegan terrorists…we wouldn’t expect anything less,” he said.


“(But) the Labor Party seem to be having a bit of an existential crisis on this.


“(Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese) had to make it clear to some of his caucus…that the Labor Party are actually not the party of vegan terrorists (but) it doesn’t appear to be a clear majority view within the Labor Party.


“It appears to be something that they are quite conflicted on.


“You can imagine in the caucus meeting Mr Albanese saying to his colleagues, ‘No, that’s really not what we’re about; we are not about supporting vegan terrorists,’ and others in the faction saying, ‘I don’t know; I think maybe we should support vegan terrorists’.”


‘Vegans are not terrorists’ ...