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Our farmers under fire

Proud farmer: Mike Vella loves what he does – raising quality venison at Koonwarra – and takes pride in caring for his deer. But some South Gippsland farmers, like the Vellas, say an animal liberation group is unfairly tarnishing their reputations by listing their businesses on a controversial website.

SOUTH Gippsland farmers say an animal liberation group is unfairly tarnishing their reputations by listing their businesses on a controversial website.
The Aussie Farms Map – run by the group Aussie Farms – claims to be a “comprehensive, interactive map of factory farms, slaughterhouses and other animal exploitations facilities across Australia, launched publicly in January 2019”.
The website purports to “force transparency on an industry dependent on secrecy” and use “freedom of information as a powerful tool in the fight against animal abuse and exploitation”.
But despite South Gippsland being home to dairy, beef, sheep and other farms, the map names just a handful of farmers. Given these are paddock to plate producers with websites, they could have easily been found online and chosen at random.
The website does not give evidence for why the farmers are listed on the website, which makes allegations of animal cruelty.
The farmers are Terramirra Park Deer Farm at Koonwarra, Blue Tree Honey Farm at Dumbalk and Gippsland Gourmet Goat at Ryanston north of Wonthaggi.
Two “unknown dairies” – at Almurta and Loch – are the only dairy farms mentioned, along with an unknown farm at Glen Alvie, GBP Australia Abattoir at Poowong, Tabro Meat at Lance Creek, a Foster abattoir, Arden Jenkins and Son Pet Meat Processing at Jeetho, and Toora Stock Removers at Toora, although The Star has been told the Foster and Toora businesses are no longer operating.
Also mentioned are tourist attractions Maru Koala and Animal Park at Grantville, Phillip Island Wildlife Park and the former Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm.
Again, no information is given as to why these businesses are on the website.
A spokesperson for the Jeetho knackery said it only deals with dead animals and so no inhumane behaviour occurs.
Jill and Mike Vella run Terramirra Park Deer Farm and are incensed about their business being listed.
Their business’s online Google listing has attracted an influx of views in the past week, reaching a record of 10,027 views and Mrs Vella believed this was due to the Aussie Farms Map listing.
“Being targeted by lawless criminals is very distressing and has caused some loss of sleep and anxiety,” Mrs Vella said.
“It’s definitely a concern. These people are muppets and they are doing it with the support of law and order who are not prosecuting them.
“We are regulated and they are not and it’s a bad thing.”
While the website has not led to animal liberationists entering the Vellas’ property, Mr Vella has been abused by them in Melbourne on three occasions while driving in his business van that has a sign stating he sells fresh venison. He has also been physically intimidated.
“They were saying how bad it was (to farm animals for meat) and to leave them be,” he said.
Mrs Vella dismissed any suggestion the website made about how her venison business operated, saying they have biosecurity and environment management plans in place, have been audited, and through her professional and voluntary association with Landcare, adopt a sustainable farming ethos.
“The whole vegan thing is a moral argument. They have got plenty of time to sit on their hands and wonder what they are going to do next,” she said.
“They are trying to impose their morality on me.”
She added, “Being a farmer these days, you cop it from all sides and people who think they know more than what you do.
“We are well aware of our social obligations to the greater good and we take them very seriously. We understand what animals need and we reckon they have a pretty good life here.”
Aussie Farms was contacted for comment.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=27287

Posted by on Jan 30 2019. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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