Qld animal activists charged over protests

By AAP Newswire

Eleven animal rights' activists who allegedly protested at an abattoir and feedlot in southern Queensland have been charged with trespass and drug offences.

They were arrested on Tuesday and face a total of 18 charges for planned protests at Yangan and Millmerran in March, and earlier this month.

Their alleged offences include unlawfully entering farming land (trespass) in the Darling Downs region and drug offences.

The protests were part of a national campaign against the treatment of animals and prompted the state government to change regulations to include new penalties.

Police and biosecurity officers will issue $650 fines on the spot for individuals considered a threat to biosecurity and animal and worker welfare.

They also face criminal charges and potential jail time if farmers and business owners make a complaint to police.

But agriculture lobby group AgForce says the penalties aren't harsh enough.

"We thank the Queensland government for their quick action, but much more needs to be done to stop these radical activists overrunning farms and frightening families," chief executive Michael Guerin said.

The protests began late last year when animal rights' activists allegedly entered dairy, pig and poultry farms without permission.

Activists say Australians need to come to terms with the cruelty involved in the meat and dairy industries.