Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has strongly condemned reports of animal activist demonstrations expected to be held across Australia early next week, sparked by the anniversary of a film which claimed to ‘expose the dark underbelly of modern animal agriculture’.

Ms Cooke said farming communities in the Cootamundra electorate were hard-working people united in their professionalism and respect of animals.

“The people behind this film and these demonstrations will stop at nothing in their quest to destroy legitimate industries and the rural communities they support,” Ms Cooke said.

“They are trying to kill off the livelihoods of families who in many instances have a connection with land and livestock stretching back many generations.

“Farming families share a love and respect for animals, and they regularly work until they are at the point of physical and emotional exhaustion to make sure their livestock are cared for and are thriving.

“That an organisation or individuals would seek to destroy this speaks to me of ignorance, bullying and vigilantism, and that is a huge concern to me.”

In January this year Aussie Farms released an online interactive map detailing the locations, operations and contact details of farms around Australia.

“I cannot condemn strongly enough any activity which seeks to encourage illegal trespass on farms in the Cootamundra electorate,” Ms Cooke said.

“These are people’s homes, it is where they live and work and where they spend their lives building a safe and proper environment for the production of livestock.

“The NSW Government has committed to urgently reviewing trespass laws and the penalties available to the legal system, so that our farmers can work without fear of an invasion by thugs.

“We will also appoint an Agriculture Commissioner to work with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner to give support to farmers in every aspect of their work.

“I would encourage anybody who wishes to report suspicious or illegal activity to contact the police on 000 if it is urgent, or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.”

CAPTION: Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke with Kikiamah farmer Stephen Cavanagh. Ms Cooke has condemned plans by animal activists to stage demonstrations against farming, which Ms Cooke says highlights the activists’ ‘ignorance, bullying and vigilantism’.