Foothills MP, John Barlow, has been getting lots of emails and calls from farmers and ranchers in the riding, fearing they'll be the next target of animal activists.
On Monday, September 2, protesters entered a Hutterite Colony near Fort Macleod protesting turkey production along the highway and inside the barn.
Barlow paid a visit to the operation and the turkey farm manager on Friday, September 6, and says they were still shook up after last week's incident.
Barlow says it sounds like there may be charges laid against the activists, but there's been nothing so far.
"They're [farmers and ranchers] worried about the message that this sends," he said. "That any farm and any ranch is now open season, that your protesters are free to walk on their property, or break and enter into their barns or their offices and do what they want to with very little consequence."
Sharing in the frustrations of the agriculture community, Barlow has reached out and talked with Alberta's Agriculture and Justice Ministers about ensuring the protection of farm families and farm bio-security.
"We have to come up with a strategy and some kind of policy or guidelines, whether it's through the criminal code or working with the RCMP, that these types of things don't happen again, and if they do, there are consequences for those activists."
On Barlow's Facebook page, he says the three have agreed this is unacceptable and are committed to working together to develop policy to protect farm and ranch families.
Following his visit to the operation, Barlow believes protesters were actually upset with what they saw, as their visions of caged, bloodied and abused animals were not the reality at this free-run turkey operation with healthy animals.
Barlow says the activists were the ones who called the RCMP to the scene looking for protection, knowing they were in the wrong.
"I feel for our RCMP officers, I don't think they were too happy with what transpired either," he said.
The protesters wanted some of the turkeys to be released to a sanctuary, media coverage of the barns and to walk away without charges.
Barlow says the farmers did give them a tour of the operation for photos and filming with nothing to hide, and also handed over five birds in an effort to get on with their lives.
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