Eleven animal rights activists are facing criminal charges after protesting inside a south-east Queensland abattoir and chaining themselves to machinery.
The Brisbane Times reports the activists, who infiltrated the Carey Bros. Abattoir in Yangan early on April 8, now face 18 trespassing and drug offence charges.
Two of the demonstrators had already been charged after an unlawful demonstration at a feed lot in March.
Initial reports on the incident stated the owners of the facility bargained with the demonstrators by offering them three live sheep to leave the premises.
Figures from the abattoir also declined to press charges at the time. Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said that’s all changed, given the formal complaints from the business owners.
“The Queensland Police Service respects the right of people to protest in a peaceful manner, however we have a duty to ensure the safety of protesters, farm workers and property owners,” Wacker said in a statement.
The protests were part of a coordinated day of action by animal rights activists hoping to draw attention to what they see as endemic cruelty in Australia’s livestock industry.
Demonstrators blocked one of Melbourne‘s busiest intersections during peak hour, leading to 39 arrests.
Investigations on the Queensland protests are ongoing.