Agriculture Minister Furner needs to focus on protecting animals, not persecuting activists

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The majority of Australians are concerned about animal welfare and believe that current laws and regulations should be improved.1 Yet agriculture Ministers at both state and federal levels focus on industry profits over protecting vulnerable animals.

Animal Liberation Queensland’s Executive Director Chay Neal said “While ALQ had no involvement in organising the recent protests, we join with an increasing proportion of the public who are frustrated with authorities routinely failing farmed animals.”

“In footage from Wacol released by ALQ last month, we saw boars living miserable lives in metal pens so small they cannot turn around. A worker can be seen violently kicking them, leaving wounds untreated, and letting one immobilised boar die slowly over the course of several days.”

See footage at

“Instead of investigating this animal cruelty which shocked so many members of the public, the Minister is targeting small charities like Farm Animal Rescue, a sanctuary who became the carers of three lambs released after a nonviolent protest at a Queensland abattoir on Monday.

“The animals at Farm Animal Rescue are some of the best cared for in the country. Yet, shortly after arriving back with the lambs on Monday they were subject to a politically motivated inspection. The Minister continued the government intimidation of a small non-profit sanctuary, directing inspectors to investigate their transport.

“Whilst the Minister shows little concern for the routine documented mistreatment of farm animals, he thinks a model sanctuary is an appropriate target for animal welfare concerns.  The fact is, he represents a broken system with a glaring conflict of interest at its core, because the same department that is responsible for the commercial growth of animal agriculture is also in charge of upholding animal welfare laws. This is a real issue that needs to be addressed within government," said Mr Neal.

“Kneejerk regulation and a taskforce to harass nonviolent activists, rather than honestly addressing public concerns about the mistreatment of animals, would be against the interests of farmed animals and an affront to the long tradition of peaceful protest in Australia. 

“We encourage Government and the media to recognise that Australians want better treatment of animals and to use this opportunity for constructive dialogue rather than seeking to vilify and silence those who draw attention to their plight.”


1. Futureye for the Department of Agriculture (2019) Australia’s shifting mindset on farm animal welfare According to this recent report, 90% of the public sees the need for change and reform in the treatment of animals in farming. This proportion rises to 96%  among those who are well informed about the facts.