The Shannons operate their farm on a simple but powerful premise – animal welfare and the environment first.
So when Rodger and Katherine Shannons’ property near Orange in the state’s central west was listed on the Aussie Farms interactive map with GPS coordinates on how to get there, they were shocked and concerned about the invasion of privacy.
“Our operation is based on holistic farming, everything we do is key to healthy plants and animals,” Mr Shannon said, who runs Carbeen Pastured Produce, a family-owned farming business that produces eggs, beef, lamb, wool and chickens on their 549 hectare property.
“But this map puts everything we do at risk.”
The Shannons back Australian Community Media’s campaign to #protectourfarms and force government to grant stronger protections from extreme activists in the wake of the social media storm around the release of farmers’ personal details on the anti-farming website, Aussie Farms.
The campaign is calling on the government to revoke the charity status of Aussie Farms, strengthen farmers’ privacy protections and increase penalties for trespass.
“Aussie Farms say they do it for transparency, we could not be any more transparent,” he said.
“We are on social media and show people what we do everyday. We are more exposed as we have a public presence.”
Mr Shannon said they contacted Aussie Farms last week for their personal details to be removed from the website.
“We received an automatic reply stating they were small and busy team,” he said.
He said they then contacted the Office of Information Commission and were told that because Aussie Farms was a “small business” the commissioner could not act.
Mr Shannon said the website “is indiscriminate and has an extremist agenda” and put at risk their biosecurity as well as the health and safety of their employees and family.
“All of our contact details are on the website, our farm is our main source of income, a place where we employ seven local people and raise our family,” Mr Shannon said.
“The privacy breach is one thing but the potential biosecurity risk and flow-on affect of animal activists entering our property, introducing disease to our flock, wiping out our income and the employment opportunities we provide is scary.”
Julie and Michael Moore, who appeared on The Land’s front page last week, also support the #protectourfarms campaign. “We want protection for our farms, we want all agricultural industries to work together in a united front to stand against activists such as these.”