Australia's south-eastern state government has declared Animal rights activists 'domestic terrorists' after several trespassing incidents, according to the Independent.
The New South Wales (NSW) government has introduced on-the-spot trespassing charges of $1,000 (£565) for each “vigilante” caught illegally entering private farmland.
The new rules, which come into force on 1 August, could also see individuals charged up to $220,000 (£124,000) and corporations up to $440,000 (£248,000) for any major violations of the Biosecurity Act. -Independent
"Vigilantes who are entering our farmers’ property illegally are nothing short of domestic terrorists," said NSW deputy premier John Barilaro.
"Our farmers have had a gutful. They don’t deserve, nor have time, to be dealing with illegal trespass and vile harassment from a bunch of virtue-signalling thugs."
According to the report, "Earlier this year clashes between farm owners and protesters forced the police to step in Western Australia, and the owners of a small goat farm in Victoria blamed closure on continual harassment by abusive “vegan activists”."
Jail time is also under consideration as additional punishment.
"Today the government is putting these vigilantes and thugs on notice," NWS agriculture minister Adam Marshall told Australia's ABC News.
"This is just the first part of a broader package of reforms the government is working on, and jail time will be included in further legislation we are looking at."
Marshall added that the new rules are "the toughest laws anywhere in Australia for people that illegally trespass onto farmers’ properties."
Meanwhile, activist group Aussie Farms says that the new rules under the "smokescreen" of biosecurity go too far.
Per executive director Chris Delforce, "Once again, the issue of biosecurity is being used as an excuse to attempt to limit consumer awareness of the systemic cruelty occurring in farms and slaughterhouses across the country."