Row Over Pig Footage Entering 'Dangerous Territory'

AUSTRALIA - There are fears that the deadlock between farmers and animal rights activists could escalate as a result of illegal activities by the activists in piggeries across Australia.
calendar icon 14 June 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

ABC reports that in a span of one month, animal rights campaigners have allegedly trespassed and illegally filmed at two piggeries located near Young in New South Wales.

This act committed by the campaigners has angered local pig farmers due to the violation of their privacy. However, the animal rights groups have stood their ground, claiming that their actions are justified.

Ean Pollard, owner of Lansdowne piggery, said video footage of his sheds revealed a breach of privacy on his property.

According to ABC, the footage disclosed sow stalls housing dozens of pigs. Some of them were seen chewing on the bars of their stalls, while others appeared unfazed. Raucous noises could be heard.

According to Mr Pollard, his sow stalls, which are legal in Australia, comply with industry standards. However, he continues to work on making his animals more comfortable.

He disclosed the fact that the video footage was acquired without permission and upset him that it was posted on YouTube since, according to him, it provided no context.

Mr Pollard said, "They have walked up the alleyways with a camera and I don't knew what else they are doing, because I know that the sows are making a lot of noise, they've certainly got them stressed.

"They are just trying to get sensationalised footage, you know, getting animals worked up to make the evidence that they are collecting more exaggerated."

In the past month, this is the second alleged case of invasion of privacy in Young.

According to Edwina Beveridge, owner of Blantyre Farms, illegally-hidden cameras in her pig sheds were found at the beginning of May.

Australian Pork Limited (APL) says this is the fourth case of trespassing in Australia in the last six weeks.

Andrew Spencer, APL CEO, said, "I guess it's what activists do when they can't win the argument through rational debate."

Mark Pearson, from Animal Liberation NSW, did not deny the fact this his organisation obtained the footage from the two Young farms and supports the animal rights activists in breaking the law to unveil evidence of what he refers to as animal cruelty.

"I feel that it is vindicated that if people are going to keep animals in such as way that they keep intelligent, sentient beings with a great deal of need for behaviour expression, to make money off their back, then that behaviour deserves to be published so that the public see how these animals are treated," Mr Pearson said.

Mr Spencer says the situation is heading into dangerous territory.

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