Farmers outraged over site

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
A screenshot of the farms listed in the greater South West of the state.
Camera IconA screenshot of the farms listed in the greater South West of the state. Credit: Aussie Farms Inc

Outraged South West farmers are taking legal action — and taking their fight to Canberra — after their personal details were published on the animal activist website Aussie Farms Inc.

Family farms, producers, processors and even racecourses were among thousands of properties targeted on the website as “commercialised animal abuse and exploitation” facilities.

The website has caused outrage across the country exposing addresses, names, licensing documents and even GPS coordinates of farms and producers.

Brunswick resident Sue Palermo has begun legal proceedings after being named on the website as an “open and operating” facility under the category “entertainment — horses”.

“It has absolutely no foundation whatsoever — I have never operated a commercial horse business from this property,” Mrs Palermo said.

Mrs Palermo will hold a community meeting at the Brunswick Showgrounds tomorrow at 7pm to share advice from her lawyer and to allow other farmers to voice their own concerns.

While the activist group has been unable to provide photos, the site links the property to photos of horses with damaged hoofs and other injuries from what it describes as “similar facilities”.

Mrs Palermo said the map not only breached her privacy but associated her property with animal cruelty.

She has also requested a meeting with Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to push for tougher privacy laws.

“Threats can be made on social media and there is no recourse,” Mrs Palermo said. “That needs to change.”

“I am not letting this go at all.”

“They have picked the wrong person with me – I won’t back down.”

Aussie Farms Inc director Chris Delforce said the goal of the map was to lay “everything bare” and “force transparency on an industry dependent on secrecy”.

“It shows how these horrific places that most people wouldn’t support, have essentially taken over the country,” Mr Delforce said.

He hit back at privacy concerns saying the map simply compiled publicly available information in one central location, comparing it to a Yellow Pages directory.

Brunswick dairy farmer Michael Partridge responded saying Yellow Pages did not accuse farmers of animal cruelty.

“The Yellow Pages aren’t accusing us of animal cruelty,” Mr Partridge said.

The fourth-generation dairy farmer, whosefamily has owned and operated the White Rocks Dairy for 130 years, said privacy concerns had led the family to cease its group tours for the foreseeable future.

“Our privacy and trust has been breached,” he said.

Dardanup Butchering Company chief executive officer Mark Panizza has called the publication of the map “basically extremism”.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but they want to impose their views on everyone else,” Mr Panizza said.

He said the vast majority of livestock farmers and processors followed industry best practice to make animal welfare a priority.

“For those of us involved with animals, the last thing you want to do is hurt animals.”

“If you saw someone treat an animal poorly you’d jump the fence and do something about it.”

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