FARMERS and the Federal Government have welcomed a decision by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to revoke the charity status enjoyed by the animal rights organisation Aussie Farms Inc.
The National Farmers’ Federation said it had led the call for action since Aussie Farms launched an online ‘attack map’ in January this year, revealing the locations of thousands of Australian farms and supply chain businesses.
NFF chief executive officer Tony Mahar said the map incorrectly implies that the farms featured are in some way doing something illegal or unethical.
“This in itself is deeply distressing to those farmers, their families and staff, who work hard to produce food and fibre and who care genuinely for their livestock.
“Many are battling one of the worst droughts in living memory,” he said.
“The last thing they need hanging over their head is the fear of radical extremists invading their home and business, putting at risk their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their animals.”
Mr Mahar said this year the NFF and many other organisations and individuals had lodged formal complaints with the charity regulator, calling for an investigation into the conduct of Aussie Farms and for their charity status to be revoked.
“The NFF believes that the conduct of Aussie Farms is completely inconsistent with the standards required of a registered charity, and should not attract generous tax concessions.
“Aussie Farms is philosophically opposed to the keeping of animals by humans, and its campaigns aim to undermine farming and agriculture in Australia,” he said.
“There is nothing charitable about that.”
Mr Mahar said the ACNC investigation has led to it revoking the charity status of Aussie Farms – a compliance action that the Charities Commissioner Gary Johns says is reserved for the most serious of cases.
Federal Member for Maranoa and former Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the decision of the Charities and Not-for-profits Commission on Monday to strip Aussie Farms of its charitable status is a win for common sense.
“As Agriculture Minister I wrote to the Charities Commissioner asking him to review Aussie Farms charitable status.
“I also worked with the Attorney-General to bring Aussie Farms under the Privacy Act with a maximum penalty of $2.1 million for breaching the act,” he said.
“Charities do not invade people’s privacy and encourage illegal behaviour.
“Our farmers deserve respect for putting the best food in the world on our dinner tables,” Mr Littleproud said.
“These activists put farming families at risk by encouraging large-scale trespass.
“No one wants 50 strangers invading their backyard where their kids play,” he said.
“Aussie Farms will lose charity tax benefits after being exposed for what they are – militant activists.
“It’s time Aussie Farms came to their senses and took their attack map down.”