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AU ARAs to protest at VFF Annual Conference

http://sl.farmonline.com.au/news/state/livestock/news/animal-activists-to-protest-at-vff-annual-conference/2527868.aspx

19 Apr, 2012

An anonymous group of animal activists will stage a protest outside the Victorian Farmers Federation's Annual Conference in Bendigo today and Friday.

The group issued a media release yesterday without leaving any details of who they are.

A number of activists have been using facebook to promote the protest during the past week and have declared the conference a "golden opportunity to protest as they (VFF) represent all areas of cruelty to animals including meat, dairy & egg farming".

"This is an insult to all farmers," VFF president Andrew Broad said. "Farmers are leaders in animal welfare and care about their livestock."

"Our animal welfare standards and guidelines are built on science and developed in consultation with a wide section of industry including animal welfare groups such as Animals Australia.

"We have a role in improving animal welfare standards globally, not just cutting off trade.

"The VFF is encouraging debate on animal welfare," VFF President Andrew Broad said. "Animal welfare is crucial to productive farming."

Mr Broad said animal welfare was one of the key issues of debate at the VFF conference, which included a panel session on animal welfare.

Panellists include Glenys Oogjes from Animal Australia, Maria Mercurio from RSPCA, Professor Paul Hemsworth from the Animal Welfare Science Centre and VFF Livestock President Chris Nixon.

The panel will discuss answers to the question: "What will animal welfare and food production in Victoria look like in ten years' time?"

In regard to the protest, Mr Broad asked organisers to respect the right of farmers to peacefully run their conference and respect the fact that Animals Australia and RSPCA will be in the room.

"They are welcome to protest outside the conference but please don't disrupt proceedings," he said.

"We're looking forward to hosting a long-overdue debate on the future of animal welfare. We hope this will lead to a more honest, open and sensible discussion about how food is produced."

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