A Riverina pig farmer has criticised “vigilante activists” who break the law in search of sensational photos and videos.
Peter Cartwright has owned Pine Park Piggery near Temora for more than 30 years and is just one of 38 farmers targeted by animal liberationists who seek to expose cruel practices.
However, Mr Cartwright said he’d had hundreds of vet students through the farm over the years and wasn’t trying to hide anything.
“I checked with a consultant vet in Wagga, he looked and said unless we’d changed things dramatically we had nothing to worry about,” Mr Cartwright said.
“We’ve opened our doors and if (the activists) had the decency to ask we'd probably have given them coffee, brekky and a guided tour, but like mongrel dogs they sneak in.”
Mr Cartwright isn’t alone in his criticism. For years, farmers have complained of break-ins and they were discussed at a private meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and NSW police, RSPCA and NSW Farmers last year.
A summary of the meeting said piggeries in the area, along with poultry farms in other states, were known to have been “invaded for the purpose of installing unauthorised surveillance devices, ostensibly to ‘reveal’ animal husbandry practice believed to be poor”.
Outspoken animal activist Lisa Ryan had previously told Fairfax Media that activists were “forced to act” when regulatory bodies failed to do so.
“They become so frustrated they feel they have a moral and ethical obligation to inform the community and public about what’s going on,” Ms Ryan said. “Exposing animal abuse is a very non-violent approach. If you’ve got nothing to hide then what’s the problem?”
Mr Cartwright said the activists thought they were above the law.
“Most pig farmers I know try to do the right thing, it's in our interest to have the animals in their best condition,” he said.
“I’ve had pigs since I could stand up, I've been here 35 years and when people say I don't love these animals it makes me angry.”