AUSTRALIA’S peak meat processor body has called for tougher fines and jail terms against animal activists after police arrested a suspect following the vandalising of a Brisbane butcher shop overnight.
This morning, staff at the Clancyjames’s butcher shop in upscale Taringa arrived to fine the shopfront splattered with fake blood, smashed glass made to look like bullet holes and a spray painted message declaring ‘meat is murder’.
The butcher shop is a member of the Australian Meat Industry Council, which has has called on the government to recognise that anti-meat activism is affecting businesses across the supply chain and must be stamped out.
AMIC chief executive officer Patrick Hutchinson said “enough is enough”.
“We are simply disgusted by this.
“Once again we see activists targeting legally operating businesses,” he said.
“Just a couple of months ago activists closed down a busy intersection in Melbourne and broke into a number of premises, only to walk away with a slap on the wrist.
“It sends absolutely the wrong message,” Mr Hutchinson said.
He called on the Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie and the Minister for Small Business, Michaelia Cash, to commit to swift and decisive action to push through changes to legislation that will make it easier to prosecute illegal activism.
Senator McKenzie told the Sydney Morning Herald last week she would take “a hard line on extreme animal activists”, adding that it was absolutely unacceptable for animal activists to “think they can just walk onto your property, let your livestock out” and disrupt a farm business. However, Mr Hutchinson has called for similar treatment for businesses targeted by activists.
“We’re heartened to know that our new Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie is on board with much tougher penalties for agri-activists, but it is critical that this is not limited only to on-farm activism.
“As we’ve seen today in Brisbane, there are other businesses feeling the brunt of this disgraceful behaviour,” he said.
“We need immediate action to deliver tougher fines and jail terms to curb this unlawful activity.
“These activists are criminals and they need to be treated like it.”
– The peak industry body for Australia’s red meat industry has expressed its disgust with an activist who vandalised a butcher shop in Brisbane today, and
Clancyjames owner David Bobberman, who runs two retail outlets and an online store, said the vandalism at his Taringa store happened at about 10.30pm last night and was reported to police by a customer who saw the perpetrator in the act. Police have made an arrest.
“I hope there will be charges laid,” Mr Bobberman said.
“When you come to work and there are two holes that look like bullet holes, you don’t take that idly.
“This is a free country – by all means say what you want, but go about it the right way,” he said.
Mr Bobberman said the community response today has been exceptional, with social media going ‘berserk’ and people who are not even customers popping into the store to express their support.
Mr Hutchinson said it’s time for penalties against activists to reflect community values.
“Of course people are entitled to their own views, but illegally entering facilities is just not okay.
“It creates biosecurity risks, it leads to breaches of privacy, it is potentially unsafe for the activists themselves and at the end of the day it puts at risk jobs in regional communities,” he said.
The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) represents retailers, processors and smallgoods manufacturers and is the only industry association representing the post-farmgate Australian meat industry. Australia’s meat sector provides 55,000 full time jobs, it is worth $22 billion annually and meat is the seventh largest export commodity in the country, AMIC said.