Australia

Animal rights, not veganism, at centre of protests: Abattoir raiders

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A woman who chained herself to the killing floor of a Queensland abattoir says the protest was about animal rights, not veganism.

Protesters have scoffed at claims a raid on a Queensland abattoir created a biosecurity risk, saying they turned up in biohazard suits while the workers clomped around in thongs.

Mo Orr and about 20 others chained themselves to the killing floor of the Carey Bros Abattoir in southeast Queensland on Monday as part of a national day of action by animal rights campaigners.

Animal rights protesters who blocked a major Melbourne intersection will appear in court in June.
Animal rights protesters who blocked a major Melbourne intersection will appear in court in June.
AAP

The protests sparked a furious response, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling activists green-collar criminals and Queensland's Agriculture Minister Mark Furner saying they might have imported foot-and-mouth disease from Indonesia.

"We don't know where these people have been the last several weeks. They could have just returned from Bali - had some involvement with foot and mouth disease," the minister said.

"The last thing our country needs is some of these crazy people entering our farms with foot and mouth disease, infecting our farms, and wiping out the whole livestock industry in this country.

Ms Orr said protesters had taken all possible precautions, and had suited up to manage biosecurity risks.

"We're in coveralls, hair nets, and the workers come in thongs," she told AAP on Tuesday. "And the police come in, not suited up, so go figure."

Ms Orr said she joined the protest because Australians need to fully grasp the horror and cruelty involved in the meat and dairy industries.

"We are not vegan activists. We are animal rights activists," she said.

"We believe that most Australians are opposed to animal cruelty but they are unaware that they are funding it every time they purchase meat, eggs and dairy."

Ms Orr accepts she could be charged over Monday's raid.

"But if we don't expose this, who will? Do we just ignore it?"

She said Monday's day of action was about getting more Australians to watch the documentary, Dominion, which details slaughtering practices many consumers know nothing about.

Police are yet to receive a complaint that could trigger charges but Carey Brothers abattoir owner Greg Carey has indicated he wants the activists to be prosecuted.

Animal rights' protesters blocked the intersections of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne.
Animal rights' protesters blocked the intersections of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne.
AAP

Ms Orr said she was happy to have saved the lives of three sheep that were surrendered at the abattoir in exchange for an end to the protest.

Brad King, from Farm Animal Rescue, says they are being cared for at a sanctuary at Dayboro, north of Brisbane, and it's possible they will be offered up for adoption down the track.

Biosecurity Queensland said risks from the movement of the sheep were considered minimal.

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