Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says it is time for the Government to step in and set up an awareness campaign so the community can be confident in what farmers do to protect the environment and care for animals.
In parliament on Tuesday, Mrs Britnell called on the Minister for Agriculture to support a campaign, saying the time was right, following an activist group launching a baseless and unfounded campaign accusing farmers across the country of being cruel to animals.
She said government must play their part in coordinating a program to install confidence in the community of agricultural practices.
“A key role of the Department is to enable Agriculture; government has a part to play in showing the good things farms do for our environment, which will in turn counter the negatives being pushed by a noisy minority.
“Sections of the community are very vocal, so it’s time to tell the truth about how farms operate and work to improve the landscape – be it via working to minimise erosion, managing infestation of weeds or pests and planting areas for native animals to live.
“The community also needs to know there are strict legislative parameters in place and if farmers do wrong, there are consequences.
Activist say farmers treat animals cruelly on farms, but the reality is the vast majority of farmers probably spend more time and money caring for their animals than they do themselves.
“The mental health of many farmers is already strained by drought and poor seasons; I’m concerned that constant, unsubstantiated attacks and the threat of people walking onto their homes uninvited will just increase that burden on farmers and be the last straw.”
Mrs Britnell said unless there was a positive campaign with a solid framework supported by Government, the vocal minority would win and the benefits of producing quality food for people be lost.
“People should be able to make informed decisions, and not just hear propaganda from one side with a clear agenda,” she said.