An organisation dedicated to the conservation and protection of animals has been included on a map that implies those listed are linked with animal cruelty.
According to Aussie Farms, the interactive map launched this week, is “a comprehensive, interactive map of factory farms, slaughterhouses and other animal exploitation facilities across Australia...”
The map also allows people to “submit information about facilities and upload photos, videos and documents relating to that facility”.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, located in Dubbo, NSW has been a driving force behind various breeding programs.
The peak body representing the zoo and aqua-community throughout Australasia, The Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) are aware of the website, ZAA executive director, Nicola Craddock said.
She said Aussie Farms has listed several members of ZAA.
“This website does not provide any evidence or raise specific allegations of animal welfare concerns at our member zoos or aquariums,” Ms Craddock said.
There have been calls for the Aussie Farms Facebook page and website to be taken down and for it to be stripped of its charity status.
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While Aussie Farms have a right to their opinion, if the website breaches any Australian laws or provides information that is misleading or not factual, ZAA believe that information should be removed from the site, Ms Craddock said.
“Though the website appears to be sharing publicly available information, much of it appears to be outdated and there is no apparent process in place to ensure that information, photos or documents uploaded are factual or legally obtained,” she said.
On its website, Aussie Farms state people can submit information about facilities and upload photos, videos and documents relating to it.
Because of this many farmers are concerned this may lead to illegal trespassing.
Ms Craddock said the safety of visitors, staff and the animals cared for by ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums is always taken seriously.
“People trespassing in publicly-restricted areas can create biosecurity risks that may cause suffering to the animals they claim to protect,” she said.
"Zoos and aquariums are monitoring the situation and will take appropriate action. We are still assessing the potential risks at this point.”
Ms Craddock said Zoos and aquariums in Australia operate to high welfare standards.
“The ZAA Accreditation Program takes positive animal welfare beyond the minimum standards enforced by government departments and the website does not provide any evidence or raise specific allegations of animal welfare concerns at our member zoos or aquariums,” she said.
“Engaging and educating people about animals is one of the most effective ways of helping people to understand the threats facing wildlife and some of the actions required to save them.”