Threatening calls worry farmers

03 Jan, 2014 01:00 AM
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Member for Durack, Melissa Price is urging farmers to report threatening phone calls.
If there are people getting these bogus phone calls we need to highlight how widespread it is.
Member for Durack, Melissa Price is urging farmers to report threatening phone calls.

THREATENING phone calls, believed to be from extreme animal activists, are being made to a number of farmers throughout WA.

A number of livestock producers have received disturbing phone calls about animal welfare images overseas and threatening comments relating to the whereabouts of the farmers' children.

New Norcia farmer Iain Nicholson, who received calls, said he had also spoken with a number of other agricultural industry personnel who had had similar calls.

"They threatened to put posters up of poor animal welfare overseas and that sort of thing," Mr Nicholson said.

"But they were also saying that they knew where our children were and that they were a lot closer to them than we knew.

"I didn't take that very well, I can tell you that.

"It has been going on for about a month."

Mr Nicholson said he had been in contact with Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price and both were urging farmers who had similar calls to come forward.

Ms Price's office confirmed it had received numerous complaints about the threatening and disturbing calls.

"If there are people getting these bogus phone calls we need to highlight how widespread it is," Mr Nicholson said.

"The police said to me to get a private number, but I run a business, I can't go underground.

"I think what they (the extreme activists) are trying to do is just make it hard for us and it is just another tool for them.

"One farmer I spoke with said he had been getting calls and had to shut down his phone.

"I also spoke to a veterinarian student who was getting the calls with a muffled voice saying 'I have been in your house, I have been in your fridge,' so it is clearly widespread."

The frightening calls follow a letter that was received in November 2012 by Mingenew cattle and sheep producers, Paul and Kellie Starick.

The anonymous letter appeared to have a religious agenda and had been photocopied.

Keysbrook cattle producer Bruce Campbell's 95-year-old mother also received the same letter.

Ms Price addressed her concerns in the House of Representatives earlier this month.

She said the 2011 live cattle export ban was bad enough for farmers and pastoralists and said the human welfare side of the argument needed to be remembered.

"Make no mistake – nobody, including these cattle producers, wants to see cruelty to animals," Ms Price said.

"It is however the human welfare side of the live export debate that is of concern to me and my constituents and is something that I believe needs to be brought to the forefront of all Australians minds.

"In many anti-live export campaigners haste to criticise this industry and, in their minds, stand up for the welfare of animals, they seem to have forgotten their own humanity and the welfare of their fellow man and woman.

"These cattle producers are not all big corporations.

"They are hard working families who have been victimised by people who seem to have lost their way."

She said anti-live export campaigners were resorting to threats and intimidation tactics to send their message.

"They are threatening not only the lives of these producers, but their children as well," she said.

She said social media was also a weapon of choice to relay these threats and intimidations.

"Their ability to remain relatively anonymous and 'troll' through various Facebook pages simply reinforces the term 'keyboard warrior', and is utterly appalling," she said.

"On a Facebook page, a threat was recently made against my constituent's children and their primary school.

"A report has been made by both the school principal and my constituent to the police, and Facebook has been contacted.

"Unfortunately these people have yet to be removed from Facebook.

"Months of multiple phone calls per day to this house and family have also been reported to police.

"These farmers don't deserve to have their livelihood taken from them, and are fearful that what may have been idle threats so far, will turn into something less peaceful.

"In the words of this constituent: 'How far are these extremists allowed to go? How much must we as producers take and how long will this constant bombardment of attacks toward producers, our families and our businesses be allowed to continue?'

"I dread to think of the possibilities."

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READER COMMENTS

Paul Cox
3/01/2014 7:07:38 AM, on Farm Weekly

Until and unless the police forces take these threats seriously and expend the required resources to track down and charge some of those making threats it will continue. Start gaoling people for using a carriage service to threaten and see if those very extreme activists retain the courage of their convictions. I await the condemnation of these acts from animal rights groups and people such as Katrina Love and Lynne White but I won't hold my breath.
hate fueling rubbish.
3/01/2014 9:26:56 AM, on North Queensland Register

Why couldn't these 'calls', if they are happening, be from farmers pretending to be 'animal activitsis' just to stir things up? That scenario is far more realistic than the fairy tale you are trying to perpetuate in this article. Mud slinging, crap stirring, hate fuelling rubbish.
Its an inside job
3/01/2014 9:28:33 AM, on North Queensland Register

Does'nt make sense. How would people know who is and who isn't a farmer? More likely this is an inside job.
Greg Hamilton
3/01/2014 9:52:00 AM, on North Queensland Register

Story doesn't make sense. How would the caller know who is a farmer, and what is the point? All it does is provide a story...and there we have it. A story for the rural press. This smells more and more like a load of fresh dung.
CY
3/01/2014 10:55:54 AM, on Farm Weekly

This is so bloody wrong – menacing kids and the elderly now? It’s never acceptable to "target" another’s family to benefit your own cause. Pull your heads in hippies – bullying & harassment is not acceptable behaviour.
Chris
3/01/2014 11:34:10 AM, on Farm Weekly

This is quite true, I was told of this a couple of years ago by several people and more since. Easy to find out who a farmer is, farmers are listed in phone books. Even easier to find a farmer who uses facebook as they use their real names unlike those who target livestock producers and associated businesses. These people are like cult members and preach compassion but act the opposite. Just visit Animals Australia to see the hate for any farmers, though most farmers are quickly banned from there when they try to correct the lies told there by rabid animal rights supporters.
Katrina Love
3/01/2014 12:34:19 PM, on North Queensland Register

I certainly DO hope that police take these alleged threats seriously - making threats against individuals or their families is not something I personally, or Stop Live Exports as an organisation (not an animal rights group), condones. As has been said previously though, there is no proof of who these threats are coming from, and until that can be ascertained, I think judgment should be withheld... all the animal activists I know promote non-violent direct action only, unlike the pro-LE contingency which threatened us with shooting and truck "accidents" at Human Chain 2012
Chris
3/01/2014 1:55:24 PM, on Farm Weekly

Katrina you are a little more balanced than most of your supporters. You know damn well that farmers are regularly abused and death and worse wished upon them, even on your page which is far from the worst. Funny that you scream proof from alledged pictures of Australian animals being mistreated before it is proved, but change your tune for Australian farmers. Farmers that don't actually export but produce livestock as primary producers. You know rabid animal rights activists infest many pages seeking to destroy family farms. Crazed ARAs stepped in front of trucks, even with a child.
Bushie Bill
3/01/2014 2:23:12 PM, on The Land

The place to start is with your phone company, who are totally capable of tracking all incoming calls and identifying their sources.
Gemma
3/01/2014 4:04:34 PM, on North Queensland Register

This is NOT NEWS, there are no facts here just accusations! I was threatened by a man called William directly on Facebook with rape if I came to the NT because I dare stand up against live exports with the majority of Australians. Show me these police reports!
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