New legislation to protect farmers from animal activists will be debated in Parliament next week and Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie wants them passed so people who incite trespassing can be locked up.
The agricultural protection bill creates new offences targeting those who organise break-ins at farm properties, with penalties of up to five years in jail.
Speaking in Wodonga on Friday, Senator McKenzie said the legislation would protect Border businesses such as the Barnawartha saleyards and abattoirs and Corowa piggery.
"Animal activists are targeting farmers, they're targeting their families, they're stealing their stock and they're harassing their workers," she said.
"I don't think breaking the law, intimidating and harassing workers and farmers, stealing is actually about protesting.
"It's criminal behaviour and it should feel the full force of the law."
The Senator denied trespassing was the only way to expose bad practices at farms, and said journalists and whistleblowers would be exempt when reporting issues.
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"We're hearing story after story, not of animals being saved, animals being stolen, people's businesses being ruined, people losing their jobs - that is the outcome," she said.
"We need to ensure farmers can get on with running their businesses and not be intimidated out of producing clean, green food and fibre."
The prosecution of trespassers themselves remains part of state laws, and Victoria has been encouraged to follow NSW's lead to get tough on animal activists.
Senator McKenzie said she liked to think there was not a culture war between vegans and meat eaters.
"I've got friends that are vegan, so I'm not anti-vegan," she said.
"I think you should be able to eat what you like, that's your decision.
"But you don't get to then attack people for making a different decision to you."
Greens Senator Janet Rice has been vocal against the proposed new legislation, saying cruelty to animals in some cases has only come to light because activists have been forced to break the law and trespass on properties in order to expose what is taking place.
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