Vegan Rising | Standing Against Victorian Government New Ag-Gag Laws
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Standing Against Victorian Government New Ag-Gag Laws

Standing Against Victorian Government New Ag-Gag Laws

Ag-Gag: laws specifically targeted at activists/whistleblowers who expose the atrocities that occur in animal agriculture industries. 

On Friday July 1st 2022, The Livestock Management Amendment (Animal Activism) Bill came into effect. The bill, better known as Ag-Gag, was introduced by the Victorian Labor party, in an effort to silence and criminalise the brave, compassionate people who document and reveal the realities of animal use in Australia.

On the same day, Vegan Rising engaged in multiple actions across the state to prove that #LaborLies, that there is in fact no protection for farmed animals, and to make it clear that we will not be silenced by laws designed to protect those who profit from animal abuse by prosecuting those who fight for a kinder and more compassionate world. 

See the abuse these laws protect below in our recent investigations.

During the debate of the bill, Labor lied, saying that animals have adequate protection under the existing law and therefore don’t need activists to rescue them and expose their treatment. On the morning of the 1st of July, we visited four of the locations which feature in our video – places of horrific violence, suffering and exploitation that are industry standard across the entire state. We followed the advice given by the government during the debate which was to inform the RSPCA or Agriculture Victoria if we had knowledge of animal abuse.

Watch our livestream to see their response

The response was clear. Not only do these bodies not have the ability to investigate all cases of reported abuse, Agriculture Victoria admits that they rely on cruelty complaints given to them by concerned citizens and activists – the very activists who are being specifically targeted by the new laws. Agriculture Victoria also made it clear in their subsequent email response that the person who documents that abuse taking place must be named and provide a witness statement, otherwise the evidence cannot be used. Their words:

“Thank you for now providing us with the video footage that was associated with the complaint. To allow us to progress with this part of the investigation, we will require a witness statement from the appropriate individual(s) who observed the ducks depicted in the video footage so that we can confirm important details that are relevant to the investigation.Inspectors, appointed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA), have a range of powers relating to the investigation and enforcement of alleged cruelty to animals, however our effectiveness in conducting an investigation is reliant on the co-operation of all parties involved, including those who have provided video footage to our Department.”

So, to spell out the lunacy, Agriculture Victoria says they require witnesses to incriminate themselves under laws Agriculture Victoria’s own governing body, the Victorian Government, has introduced to ensure they receive extraordinary fines for doing so.

Additionally, as our actions that day also proved, when the video evidence is captured covertly, it can not be used as evidence anyway. The rabbit shed we visited that day is the perfect example.

Please watch the entire live stream here to see just how well we proved that farmed animals have no protection and that elected members of our parliament lied repeatedly during the Ag-Gag debate.

The RSPCA, who MP’s also claimed to be an authority that protects farmed animals from suffering, later admitted in an email (rather than admitting on the phone during the live stream) that they have no jurisdiction to investigate cruelty complaints regarding animal agriculture properties. Their words:“ These two reports have been referred to DJPR, as they investigate all matters of commercial livestock.” RSPCA Victoria

The RSPCA also failed to answer our question both during the live stream and three subsequent emails, in regards to one of the properties and whether they were under the organisations “approved” scheme, which we suspect they are. They still refuse to answer.

Outside Hastings chicken sheds. One of the many locations exposed on this day.

On the morning of July 1st, 2022, Vegan Rising took action that proved #LaborLies and that there is NO protection for farmed animals. Our live feed has been sent to every politician in the Victorian Government and to the authorities they falsely claim protect these animals.

Let us be clear, industries which use and kill animals for food and clothing are inherently cruel, there is no ‘better’ or ‘more humane’ way of confining, mutilating and killing another sentient being. Our actions on that morning were not to imply otherwise, They were to prove that the government lied and introduced these new laws to protect our morally bankrupt food and clothing system by specifically targeting animal rights activists who now face extraordinary fines for exposing what really goes on behind closed doors. But we will not be silenced.


Later in the day, we took our outrage to the steps of Parliament House, calling out the 121 out of 128 members of parliament who voted to single out animal rights activists and rescuers from the rest of society. Activists held the bodies of just some of the animals who were found dead within a system which cares only for the price they will fetch and nothing for their life or dignity. In the face of these repressive laws, we sent a strong message that we would not be silenced, occupying the intersection outside Parliament House to send a message to the politicians inside.

An excerpt from our speech:

“But it is these very actions – the rescues, the occupations, the documenting and the sharing of their stories and their suffering that has caused governments to fight back. They represent a system that protects industry over ethics, profits over kindness, power over justice. And for the first time in the history of the animal rights movement, of this country at least, we have challenged that. We built the foundations of an army that for the first time, turned the mainstream conversation from one of welfare, to, should we be using animals at all. Ag-Gag and anti-protest laws are the sign that it was working, that we were breaking through.

Repression only comes from a fear of change. A fear of losing power and control. And the stronger we get, the harder the push back will be. Our foundations were all but torn down by COVID, and its accompanying stresses that caused divides fed by intolerance and self-righteousness from all sides. Now its time to rebuild. With a stronger foundation that encourages and supports each other. That works together. That embraces diversity and encourages greater inclusion. That celebrates our wins, no matter how small, and learns from our losses. Let Ag-Gag be the beginnings of the fight that was always going to happen. That has to happen – before we can start to see the cracks showing into a world where all beings are respected and valued in their own right, for who they are, not what they can provide.”  

Vegan Rising – Victoria Parliament 1.7.22

Watch the full speech by Vegan Rising Spokesperson Kristin outside Parliament House here (to be published soon)

Those who voted against the bill warned of the dangerous slide towards repression it represented, with Greens member for Melbourne Ellen Sandell MP stating that the introduction of the bill could “be a step down a pretty slippery slope towards criminalising very specific forms of activism.” As well as reminding parliament that “in a democracy when we see something that we believe is cruel, that we believe is clearly and obviously wrong, that is hurting people or animals, we actually do have the right to protest and to campaign for change. It is only dictators and authoritarian regimes that try and squash that right.”

Despite these words and those of others, including Animal Justice Party representative Andy Meddick MP, the bill was passed and animal activists are now facing some of the harshest fines in the country for rescuing animals from suffering and exposing the brutal realities of their lives and deaths.. If that’s not enough, during the debate Labor politicians blatantly lied in parliament by stating there are agencies out there who protect these animals from suffering.

During the debate, senator Andy Meddick raised concerns that the new laws would prevent members of the public or organisations responding to animal suffering. In response, Labor MP Gayle Tierney (now Minister for Agriculture) stated that VicPol, Agriculture Victoria and the RSPCA should be contacted rather than concerned individuals taking action. “Inspectors, including Agriculture Victoria inspectors, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals inspectors and Victoria Police (are permitted), to enter premises to secure the welfare of animals in certain situations, and powers under this section are not affected by this bill.” 

We ask how she can hold this view, despite Agriculture Victoria themselves informing us over the phone that they rely on footage and reports from investigators and concerned citizens in order to respond to violations of animal welfare laws which, in any case, are deeply inadequate and inherently violent. 

Most often the conditions exposed by investigators are standard, industry practice, not cases of abnormal cruelty. Industries that profit off of animal’s bodies seek to hide the reality of what happens to animals in Australia because they know that the vast majority of people would be opposed to it. Without the work of these brave, tireless people who this new ag gag bill would paint as criminals, the public would have no idea what happens to animals inside ‘farms’ and slaughterhouses. 

The Truth Will Never Be Silenced

Vegan Rising is a growing movement of people who are fighting for a better, kinder and more just world. Together we stand with all the animals confined and exploited in our food and clothing systems. They need us to resist this unjust law as well as all the others that seek to stand in the way of the fight for a better world.


1. End your support of this horrendous industry by embracing vegan living

2. Share this page

3. Vote for minor parties and independents who demonstrate logic and compassion. Not those who punish the only people willing to expose the truth.

4. Support a National Independent Office of Animal Welfare – such calls are nowhere near enough – animal agriculture must be abolished. But so long as it persists, the most egregious cruelty perpetrated must be stamped out wherever possible. This will never happen so long as the agencies beholden to animal exploiters remain responsible for animal welfare – a ludicrous conflict of interest. Sign here.

Read our summary of the Ag-Gag debate here.

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