Farm map puts safety and livelihoods on the line
GLENORE Grove dairy farmer Luke Stock's family home sits just less than 50 metres from his milking sheds.
Like many farmers, his farm isn't just his place of work - it's where he lives and raises his family.
Now he, like farming families across the region, is facing the confronting reality of his home and contact details being published online after the launch of an online map listing farm locations.
"That's the biggest concern - the breach of privacy," Mr Stock said.
"We've got no concern with advertising the fact we're a dairy farm - you can drive past our front gate and we've got a milk sign there saying 'proud to be a milk producer'.
"It's mainly your contact details - when that phone number is associated with an address and an occupation, that's when the concern comes."
The map is the work of the animal activist group Aussie Farms, who described the website as "a comprehensive, interactive map of factory farms, slaughterhouses and other animal exploitation facilities across Australia."
The map was publicly launched on January 20, and Aussie Farms said in a Facebook post it had opened the map to the public to "force transparency on an industry dependent on secrecy."
"We believe in freedom of information as a powerful tool in the fight against animal abuse and exploitation," the post said.
We believe consumers have a right to know of the existence, location and operations of these businesses.
9Dorf Farms, based in Lilydale, is another Lockyer Valley business included on the map.
The permaculture farm is well known for it's ethical and environmentally sustainable approach to farming.
Manager Bronwyn Neuendorf was angered the operation was - by inclusion - being accused of animal abuse and exploitation.
"These people have got no idea what they're talking about," Mrs Neuendorf said.
"We've won two awards for our environmental and sustainability work.
"We've gone above and beyond doing the right thing by our animals, but they don't really care."
Luke Stock's concerns also ranged beyond just privacy or reputation damage.
"There's a massive biosecurity risk associated with people coming onto your farm and transferring disease," he said.
Mrs Neuendorf was similarly concerned.
"We've got sensitive stuff in the fish shed that if anybody touches we could lose our livelihood... What's to stop them in the middle of the night doing that?" she said.
Despite his concerns, Mr Stock doesn't believe the map and locations should be completely removed, instead calling for the contact details and ability for users to submit photos and videos to be removed.
He respected activists right to an opinion and said the animal welfare organisations had role to play.
"If you take some of the examples that have happened in the live export world - animal activist drove that right from the start and went a long way to improving it," he said.
9Dorf's Bronwyn Neuendorf was less understanding, calling for the website to be shut down and said the farm was considering its legal options.
"I heard somebody refer to them as terrorists, and I'd have to agree with that - I'd say they are because they're inciting hatred against farmers," she said.