Pig farmers in NSW are offering a $10,000 reward to catch animal rights campaigners who’ve been covertly filming on their properties as part of an ongoing media war over farming practices.
An advertisement headlined “Australian agriculture is under attack”, in farming newspaper The Land says the farmers’ “basic civil rights are being violated” and that “11 New South Wales farms have been illegally raided”.
The farmers say the “raids” have “compromised the health and welfare of the animals.
“There is a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction,” the ad says, offering a 1300 phone number that leads to an answering service as well as email contact.
Business Insider called in an attempt to speak with the anonymous farmers behind the advertisement, but did not get a response.
However, anti-cruelty campaigners Animal Liberation have been running an ongoing mainstream and social media campaign against pig farmers using footage taken on two farms near Young, 370km west of Sydney.
After hidden cameras were discovered at one piggery last May, workers on the farm waited for the activists to return at night, leading to a four-hour chase, a confrontation and damage to the car used by people associated with Animal Liberation.
The confrontation led to the farmers taking out apprehended violence orders (AVOs) against Mark Pearson, executive director of Animal Liberation, in a bid to stop people trespassing on the farms.
The campaign has had some success, with retailer Coles announcing a phase out of sow stalls by the end of 2014, three years ahead of the industry’s own target.
But the legal skirmishes have continued with the industry attempting to shut down an Animal Liberation website featuring the surveillance footage and failing, while an attempt by one farm to obtain copyright over the vision was lost in the NSW Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, federal politicians sympathetic to the farmers’ plight are considering legislation based on controversial US laws known as “Ag Gags”, which make it illegal to film farm animals and force activists to hand over any footage they obtain.