An interactive map revealing the locations of livestock farms and slaughter facilities around Australia has farmers in an uproar after it was created by an animal rights organization.
Aussie Farms, an animal rights group, shared a specialized Google map on Jan. 21 in an effort to recruit people to capture images and footage from livestock operations.
The group says the project to create the map took eight years and it will “force transparency on an industry dependent on secrecy.”
In a statement, Aussie Farms executive director Chris Delforce says of the map, “It shows how these horrific places that most people wouldn’t support have essentially taken over the country.”
The creation of the map has farm groups and politicians representing agriculture concerned about the motives of the group and safety for farm families.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud believes the map could not only be a safety concern to livestock farmers, but also be a biosecurity and animal welfare risk.
“They’re creating an attack list for animals activists to go and trespass, to break the law,” Littleproud tells ABC Radio National. “Some of these animal activists aren’t that bright. What they actually are doing is putting in place a real risk to animal welfare through biosecurity.”
The move has been called “terrorist activity” by National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson.
“This is a real risk, if people are coming into these farms, if they are breaking in, if they are trespassing illegally onto these farms and not going through the appropriate safeguards that farmers have for other visitors on a daily basis,” Simson says.
The activists group Aussie Farms has a social media following of more than 22,000 people on Facebook. Aussie Farms backed the documentary film Dominion that uses undercover footage to paint a negative picture of animal agriculture and promote a vegan diet. Additionally, the Aussie Farms website includes a repository of photos and images that the group hopes to increase by sharing farm locations.