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LIV recommends CCTV monitoring to protect animal welfare

LIV recommends CCTV monitoring to protect animal welfare

By LIV Media


Legislation should be introduced requiring operators of abattoirs to install and operate CCTV systems in all areas where animals are slaughtered, the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) has recommended.

The recommendation is contained in a submission to the Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee Inquiry into the Impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture.

LIV President Stuart Webb said the LIV believed that such CCTV systems should operate during hours of operation. Business owners would be required to retain the footage for up to 90 days, which can be inspected on request.

“We understand that a delicate balance must be made to uphold the need for business owners to be free from ongoing threats of trespass and disruption, whilst also upholding animal welfare to acceptable standards,” he said.

“If the government accepted our recommendation it would uphold the reputation of the agricultural industry and remove the motivation for animal activists to trespass,” he said.

Mr Webb said the recent responses to animal activism in Queensland, New South Wales and by the Federal Government aimed at harsher treatment of activist trespassers were an overreach.

He said the LIV supported the Law Council of Australia (LCA) view, as expressed to the Senate hearing into the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019 (Cth) this week. The proposed federal legislation provides harsh penalties for using a carriage service to incite activism on agricultural properties. The LCA and LIV are concerned this legislation could infringe on the constitutionally protected implied right to political communication and by its potential to stifle legitimate public debate.

The LIV acknowledges the widely reported rise of animal activists trespassing on agricultural properties and abattoirs. This has raised concerns of potential breaches of food safety and biosecurity protocols, as well as causing ongoing distress to members of the community.

In May 2019, Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said that in the previous 12 months, there were two instances of trespass in western Victoria, three in the east and six in the south. This is in addition to 14 animal activist protests that did not involve trespass.

Mr Webb said the LIV believed that it was more worthwhile removing the motives for animal activists to trespass, than simply increasing the penalties for existing trespass laws.

He said it was imperative that regular monitoring of abattoirs takes place. This may require additional powers be granted to the RSPCA, Agriculture Victoria and/or PrimeSafe, or the formation of a new body, independent from the industry, to conduct ongoing, unannounced routine inspections of agricultural farms and footage. This would ensure conditions and practices comply with ethical standards and ensure the proper installation and maintenance of CCTV.



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