Activists threaten Xmas: Reindeer handler seeks tougher laws
ANIMAL activists are threatening the very spirit of Christmas, according to Warwick reindeer trainer Graham Reimer during a consultation with Queensland Parliamentary Service staff.
Every year, for eight weeks, Mr Reimer and his reindeer tour the Christmas parties and parades across the country.
And every year, for eight weeks, Mr Reimer says he is targeted and attacked by strangers who seek to destroy his livelihood.
"They accuse us of abusing our animals and drugging our animals and belting our animals," Mr Reimer said.
"It is absolutely untrue.
"It doesn't matter what you tell them or what you show them, all they want is to destroy the livestock industry in Australia."
The reindeer, who had once been the centre of attention at the Queen St Mall Christmas Parade, are now relegated to a small pen to avoid poor publicity from protesters.
Mr Reimer said even this did not deter the activists, who continued to disrupt his business and falsely accuse him of animal maltreatment.
Mr Reimer called on the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee of the Queensland Parliament to enact a bill that would provide three new trespass offences with up to 10 years imprisonment and up to $391,000 in fines for those who incite others to trespass and disrupt businesses in the agricultural industry.
Current laws aren't enough to deter the activists, according to Mr Reimer, who advocated for jail time rather than a "slap on the wrist."
"They wear their $200 fine as a badge of honour," he said.
"Please bring in the most severe penalties you can because without criminal convictions nothing will stop them.
"Give the police the power to do their job because otherwise farmers don't stand a chance."
The parliamentary committee heard from 12 speakers from across the region at Warwick Town Hall yesterday, who testified to the emotional and financial toll activists have had on their business.
Member for the Southern Downs James Lister said the witnesses made it clear the community expects tougher laws to deter farm invasions.
"Farmers here in the Southern Downs are being traumatised and the community has become less trusting," he said.
The bill will be debated in State Parliament in November and Mr Reimer hopes the activists will be deterred before Christmas.
"Reindeer bring pleasure to people at Christmas time and that's what Christmas time is all about," he said.