Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has launched a blistering attack on a group of animal activists, demanding immediate removal of an online database of farmers.
Aussie Farms sparked outrage after publishing a map detailing the location of farms and abattoirs in an effort to expose animal cruelty.
But Mr Littleproud warned the map could cause the death of animals and pose biosecurity risks by encouraging vigilantes to break onto properties to document farming practices.
“What this animal activist group has done is effectively put out an attack map for their activists to go out there and to trespass,” he told reporters in Toowoomba on Tuesday.
Mr Littleproud said initial advice provided to the government was the map was legal, but appealed to activists’ morality to remove the database of personal and business details.
He said their “stupidity” could lead to animals being destroyed, accusing them of misplaced outrage over Australian farmers’ ethical practices.
“They are not going to stop until we are all eating grass. That’s the reality,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Go and take a chill pill, take a lie down and get the hell out of it.”
Aussie Farms insists the map is about “laying everything bare” so consumers can make informed choices.
“It shows how these horrific places that most people wouldn’t support have essentially taken over the country,” executive director Chris Delforce said in a statement.
The group’s Facebook page has more than 20,000 followers, with the activists aiming to end commercialised animal abuse and exploitation through public education.
Aussies Farms believes in the right of animals not to be owned or exploited for human purposes, according to core values on its website.
The National Farmers’ Federation is furious about the map and has called for the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission to retract Aussie Farms’ charitable status.
NFF president Fiona Simson said vigilantes have regularly trespassed on farms, which are often producers’ homes.
“We don’t think it’s acceptable at all and farmers are angry at the thought of people bursting in on them to check on them,” she told ABC Radio National on Tuesday.
“We do work constructively with credible groups. At this point in time, we’re not going to work with vigilante groups.”