This week, James Warden (25) and Arkadiusz Swiebodzinski (26) were allowed to walk free from court after being found guilty of invading a farm in Western Australia and stealing a calf.
The pair pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing and aggravated burglary at the White Rocks farm near Brunswick, Western Australia in October 2018, but were both deemed to be guilty by the magistrate.
Warden received a 12-month suspended sentence while Swiebodzinski was fined $5,000. The magistrate stated that a line between animal activism and criminality had been crossed.
“Actions speak louder than words,” National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said.
Until serious punishments such as custodial sentences are introduced, there will continue to be a minority of extremists who think they have a right to invade and terrorise farmers on their own property.
Fiona Simson, NFF President
“Farmers are rightfully concerned about the fact that their farms can be invaded in the dead of night and streamed live on the internet and that offenders are able to walk away with a slap on the wrist,” Ms Simson said.
“We’re talking about private property, often a stones’ throw from family homes where farmers and their families are sleeping.
“This is not just a matter of basic privacy. These intruders are placing the biosecurity of our farms and the welfare of our animals at risk.”
Map targets grain and cotton growers
Also, this week The Weekly Times revealed that a little-known anti-GM map was live and contained the personal information of grain and cotton growers from all across the country.
The website was created back in 2008 by activist organisation, Gene Ethics, who describe themselves as an anti-GM group.
Alarmingly, 12 years on from the site’s inception, the map remains live and is being updated yearly in hopes of ‘exposing’ Australian farmers growing GM crops.
The news of the website came as further disappointment to farmers given that many are still calling on Government to take the damaging Aussie Farms map down and farmers in South Australia still battling for the right to produce GM crops.
GrainGrowers Chairman Brett Hosking said that the organisation was aware of the map being online but that they would prefer to have open conversations with the community about the work behind genetically modified crops.
“It’s important growers, customers and the community are able to have conversations about the ways and whys of farming and how food is produced so that we are better able to understand each other’s expectations and choices,” Mr Hosking said.
“We welcome opportunities to talk about grain farming in Australia and think that’s more useful than a one-sided map.”