News

Combating property invasions by animal activists

By Simone Dunne

Victoria Police has assembled a short guide for farmers faced with property invasions by animal activists.

Two police officers addressed the recent UDV annual conference and outlined how to deal with trespassers.

Acting Supt Peter Greaney said while citizens had a right to protest they did not have a right to obstruct traffic and emergency services (as happened in the Melbourne CBD) nor enter private property with its inherent biosecurity and safety risks.

Only last week the police were called to a property in western Victoria where four young women were behaving suspiciously on a farm property.

They told the farmer they were on the property to relieve themselves, but police said they suspected the two were attempting to "save" or steal lambs on the farm.

One of the vehicles had a horse float attached.

Supt Greaney said the incident was a good example of what to do: the neighbours first reported the incursion, the farmer attended and told the people to leave, and he obtained the car registration numbers.

Police are investigating the incident.

Supt Greaney said farms should have a plan for what to do if trespassers came onto the property.

The Police recommendations for farmers were:

1. Remain calm

2. Call 000

3. Tell trespassers to leave the property.

4. Gather information like car registration numbers and physical descriptions. Use your phone to photograph them or video their movements.

5. Do not respond to provocation, as activists will sometimes try to provoke a reaction, film the response and then use it in their propaganda.

6. Remove yourself from harm's way.