Greens welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has rejected Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce's attempt to shut down scrutiny of animal cruelty.
Animal welfare group PETA has released footage which shows sheep being punched, kicked and hit with electric shears and a hammer.
"Mr Joyce's attack on PETA is a crude attempt to avoid cleaning up farming practices," said Senator Rhiannon.
"The Minister's questions about where the camera was placed and if the abusers knew if they were being filmed fails to deal with the cruelty issue and is unhelpful for the majority of farm workers who care for their animals.
"This is why Mr Joyce is trying to introduce his ag-gag laws - he wants to punish people who expose cruelty to animals with harsher penalties than to those who actually commit the violence.
"Undercover investigators play an important role as exposure of animal cruelty helps highlight the need for improved farming practices.
"Last month NSW Liberal Minister Katrina Hodgkinson made the insulting comment when she said animals rights groups that covertly film farms to monitor livestock welfare were 'akin to terrorists'.
"Mr Joyce and his state colleagues should be working with farming communities to improve animal welfare instead of protecting perpetrators of animal cruelty," said Senator Rhiannon.
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