back to article Animal Liberation drone surveillance plan draws fire

Animal Liberation Australia has acquired a drone and plans to fly over farms and film animal cruelty. Mark Pearson, Animal Liberation's executive director, told The Reg concerned members of the public told him about drones and their potential application capturing aerial surveillance of mistreated animals. Pearson said he put …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. KjetilS
    FAIL

    "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

    I want to set up 24h surveillance in this guys living room. I don't see why he should protest, as long as he has nothing to hide.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

      Or...

      Not committing any crimes in the open air with nothing to hide the fact that you're doing them, nothing to fear?

    2. Shagbag

      Ossie or Ozzie?

      Which one is it?

      1. Neoc

        Re: Ossie or Ozzie?

        "Aussie" or "Ozzie", never "Ossie".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ossie or Ozzie?

        Aussie. (I am Australian.).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ossie or Ozzie?

          > Aussie. (I am Australian.).

          I think the question was about pronunciation.

          It never fails to grate here in Canada when I hear the USian pronunciation of "orsey", especially on ads for shampoo.

          It just sounds weird, and is of course wrong as any fule no.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Re: Ossie or Ozzie?

        Said with a Meriken accent, it's "Arsie". (Ahs-zee)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

      I would like someone to set up 24hr surveilance of the inside of this guy's back passage. With a BetaCam SP.

    4. Badvok
      Facepalm

      Re: "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

      In his living room? Seriously? How old are you? He may have plenty he wishes to hide but most of it is probably not illegal - when you grow up you might learn about some of it.

      On the other hand if a farmer wants to hide the way he treats animals it is almost certainly because what he is doing is illegal.

    5. LarsG
      Meh

      Re: "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

      The Oz answer to the Animal Rights surveillance drone....

      A rifle....

  2. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Mid Air Collision?

    What happens when one of the helicopters the Australians use for mustering cattle collides with this drone? I take it Mr Pearson has thought about that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mid Air Collision?

      I would imagine that the drones would be regulated by the Auzzie equivalent of the CAA, so they'd need to advise that they'd be operating in a particular area and a crash investigation would be made to apportion blame/make sure it didn't happen again, were there any collision.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Mid Air Collision?

        You'd hope that the drones would be operating under CASA, but as the guy in charge seems a bit vague over whether they'd be operating as a commercial entity or as a toy I'm not convinced. I hope they consider this properly befor it accidentally goes through the tail rotor of an R-22...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Steve Evans

      Re: Mid Air Collision?

      I would suspect that the downdraft of a real helicopter would blow the over-sized toy out of the air... Unless the big chopper happened to fly *under* the toy chopper... Then that could get messy.

    4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Mid Air Collision?

      I've been told that providence has supplied Australia with at least one large, stupid, clumsy species of bird that, presumably, Australian helicopter owners know to be wary of. This drone plan (presumably using cell phone communication) is just another similar aerial obstacle. As for it being shot down, I dare say that a helium airbag device will be adequate for a rescue, and if it does take out a farmer's chopper, then, fair play, I think they can count that as a win. It's unlikely that there would be evidence except for the drone's own video and maybe its cell phone records.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mid Air Collision?

        Emus can't fly.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Mid Air Collision?

          Do emus know they can't fly? Well, the story I was told may be wrong, but it concerned birds that feed on roadkill, then take off when a truck comes, but they can't get very high and are liable to fly straight at the windscreen and smash through it, which isn't good for anyone concerned. But my memory also has the word "galah" attached to it, but it doesn't look like the kind of bird that would do that - although it doesn't do to judge by looks.

          1. Faceless Man

            Re: Mid Air Collision?

            I believe that's the Wedge Tailed Eagle that feeds on roadkill then gets hit by trucks. It's less to do with stupidity, and more to do with being a large raptor with a full stomach and not being able to move fast enough.

            Galahs really aren't very big, and not particularly carniverous. Although they are just about stupid enough to sit in the middle of the road and get run over.

  3. auburnman
    Stop

    This Drone

    If it's really as hard to see/hear as they suggest, they will probably be banned or restricted as stealthy surveillance equipment. If it's covert capabilities were exaggerated and it's actually fairly visible then we're back to the farmers shotgunning them down.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This Drone

      I can't imagine that a farmer shooting down an aircraft (which is filming him) and is presumably legal and operating under the local air flight regulator's Ts & Cs would be a particularly good idea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This Drone

        This will be tech warfare all over again. The drone films downwards, so another drone flying higher dropping a few chains in the propellors will not be an easy one to prove...

      2. auburnman

        Re: This Drone

        I think the legality of civilian aerial surveillance has yet to be tested, and I'm just guessing but I doubt it would stop a number of farmers anyway.

        Being observed on private land by specialist equipment will piss them off whether it is declared lawful or not. Unless the drone has multiple cameras it can't see everywhere - the smart farmers will just down it from behind.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This Drone

          Legal or not, I'd imagine that it'd be hard to accept the aerial photography done by Google, MS, Apple, all other agencies who do it and then object to the aerial photography which shows you committing crime.

      3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: AC Re: This Drone

        "I can't imagine that a farmer shooting down an aircraft (which is filming him)....." Not meant many Aussies? I can easily see some irate Oz farmer blasting it with his shotgun and then blithely claiming in court "Honest, yer Honour, I thought it was a crow, and it wasn't until after I'd shot the blasted thing down I realised it was a kid's toy." And as to it filming him, it will be the old view-through-a-straw problem.

        IMHO, I think the ALA mutters are just announcing this for the publicity and to annoy farmers, they still have to drive out to the farms to get within range and it will be pretty easy for farmers to do them for trespass when they do enter the farm property.

      4. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: This Drone

        Why shouldn't the farmer shoot at trespasser? It doesn't matter if the perpetrator is on the ground, in the skies, or in some sort of tunneling machine.

        This sort of "you peasants have no rights" attitude might be fine for the old world.

      5. Bubba Von Braun
        WTF?

        Re: This Drone

        UAV's are governed by some strict rules, CASR 101.F.1 applies as this is not a sporting use of a UAV.

        They are likely to breach CASR 101.250 if they fly it above 400ft AGL, and CASR 101.245 if they close to within 30 meters of a person not directly involved in the operation of the UAV. If the Fyling Inspector deems the conduct to be hazardous under CASR 101.055 then they can kiss good bye to twice the cost of their UAV at least. Also possibly run agains 101.280 all of which strict liability applies to the offender.

        The UAV in question would be defined as a Small UAV for the purposes of the regulations.

        Well if I was a farmer, shooting crows would be a new occupation, pity if the UAV got hit along the way.

        1. John Angelico
          Joke

          Re: This Drone

          "shooting crows would be a new occupation"

          Nope. Merely a new technology adaptation of an old one - stoning the crows :-)

      6. Nick Stallman
        Thumb Up

        Re: This Drone

        Mechanical failure would be interesting however. They'd have to trespass if the drone went down or the farmer has a shiny new toy.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: This Drone

      In other news, sales of high-powered green laser pointers are soaring in Australian cattle territories. Cattlemen claim that they're a necessary tool to deter clouds of hard-to-see blowflies, by burning out their optical sensors...

  4. Wupspups
    FAIL

    "he expects will see weapons remain holstered"

    Maybe the hand guns will be as they would be pants for shooting drone. A nice semi auto 12 bore with 1 in the breech and 8 in the extended magazine would be just ripper taking little drones out. Very little property damage to.

    Mines the one with the no 6 birdshot

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: "he expects will see weapons remain holstered"

      And as these drones are small enough that the Animal Lib folk believe they can't be seen, well, the farm boys can't be blamed if they're merely cracking off a few rounds on their private land and accidentally shoot down the robo-snooper. Not being an expert on Australian gun law, I guess that depends how liberal they are.

      I wonder what RF jamming tech would do to one of these drones. Probably stick it into a safe-mode hover until it crashes? Or perhaps an automated landing? Either way, probably on the private land it's spying on.....

  5. Ralph B
    Black Helicopters

    Not Only But Also

    I'm not against some close inspection of the food chain, but not just for animal cruelty reasons. I'd like someone to spot the exact moment a horse turns into a cow or when a pollack turns into a cod. However, I'm not sure a group of Aussie animal liberationists with a drone will be enough for this. I think we might need an All Seeing Eye of Google.

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Range?

    If I remember correctly, the radio control range of those little thingies (which look pretty cool) is about 250m - ( or 500m with the extra cost range extender) - so he's going to have to be pretty darn close to the incident to take the piccies, and how realistic is that given that the size of sheep and cattle stations in Oz tends to be measured in deci-Wales rather than acres?

    If things turn nasty he may find it's not the drone they're taking potshots at.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Range?

      If I remember correctly, the radio control range of those little thingies (which look pretty cool) is about 250m - ( or 500m with the extra cost range extender)

      In other words, any decent jammer will take the thing down without any visible evidence, thus providing the Shaggy defence ("it wasn't me").

      1. Haku

        Re: Range?

        250m? Peanuts, I have some Texas Instruments RF transceivers that are solid at up to 1.7km and I managed to get talking to each other at 3.4km with the standard whip antenna, throw in some directional antennas and the signal becomes much stronger/reliable, change to an amplified RF transceiver and you're looking at 10s of kilometers.

        Besides a decent UAV will have GPS capabilities so if it loses contact with the operator it goes into default 'fly-home' mode, or it goes on a pre-planned GPS navigated route meaning farmers would need some seriously powerful (and most likely illegal) GPS jamming equipment to electronically stop them.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: Range?

          No, not powerful at all, just equal power & closer will do the trick. Ask anyone who has ever done R/C.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Range?

          I'm not sure our non-australian friends have any concept of just how vast and far from anywhere these farms are.

          "First star to the left and straight on till morning" is a useful set of directions out there.

          PR stunt press-release.

        3. John Angelico
          Stop

          Re: Range?

          Excuse me, but 1.7km or 3.4km or even 10s of km will barely get you to the gate of the house paddock. Try a lot more to get to the mailbox.

          Check the scenario:

          ALA: Excuse me suspect animal abuser, I'd like to come onto your vast property with my drone aircraft to film your animal treatment.

          Owner (more likely Manager) And what do you plan to do with that film?

          ALA Oh, probably drag you into court, suspend your export licence and kill your business, OK?

          As the old song put it:

          "Listen mate, there's only one place you haven't been, and you don't need my help to get there!"

    2. Vulch
      Big Brother

      Re: Range?

      For this sort of thing the drone will almost certainly have an auto-pilot (eg ArduCopter) that will let it follow a pre-programmed course. It's more likely to be the limited flight time (10-15 minutes) of a hexacopter will restrict them. There's a reason that entrants to http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/07/uav_challenge_canberra_win/ tend to have fixed wings instead of rotary.

  7. frank ly

    Bang! ...

    It was coming right at me!

  8. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    "shoot the drone out of the sky"

    He's obviously not seen birdshot in action fired from a shotgun. If you can hit a clay pigeon or a bird at 20 metres, you should be able to do enough damage to bring one of these 'copters down, which is within the range of most shotguns.

    And if they tried to retrieve it, that would be trespass.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good on 'em

    The way Australian cattle farmers treat livestock is pretty despicable. Animals are moved on journeys that often exceed 1000km or more in crowded cattle trucks to a coastal port. They are then exported by ship to places such as Indonesia and the Middle East where they have their throats slashed while still alive by the usual Halal brutality

    If the farmers had any concern for animal welfare (and breeding cattle for killing excludes them from that category) they would at least have local abattoirs and not subject the animals to weeks of poor travelling conditions before an unpleasant death. It's barbaric.

    They may whine about privacy invasion by drone but I've never yet heard a farmer complain about Australia's proposed data retention and monitoring.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Good on 'em

      " where they have their throats slashed while still alive by the usual Halal brutality"

      Am I allowed to mention Kosher without fear of being called 'anti-Semitic'?

      Anyway -- usually they are stunned before having their throats cut in a normal abattoir, though they are also usually alive.

      Proper Kosher/Halal kills the animal possible faster than the usual meat factory method.

      Kosher (dunno about Halal) has to use sharp knives without any nicks on the blade.

      Nope, bugger all about Jehovah (did he say Jehovah?!) it's all about not contaminating the meat in a hot climate -- people die.

      Let's all go back to using a pole axe instead - it's traditional innit?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good on 'em

        Yes, it turns out that when you have fomalised religious ceremonies for the killing of animals, there is a damn site more respect for the welfare animal that is to be eaten. It may appear brutal, and also paradoxical, but halal/kosher killings appear to take the animal's welfare more seriously than normal abattoirs.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good on 'em

        Can confirm Halal slaughter requires a sharp knife (you call that a knife, this is a knife! - sorry obligatory croc dundee reference).

        Also requires that other animals being slaughtered are not within sight of those getting slaughtered to prevent distress to the animal.

        I think there was a study carried out by Hannover University in Germany in the 70s that showed that Halal (and therefore Kosher) slaughtering methods actually caused less pain to the animal (presumably based on brain activity) compared to the captive bolt method.

        The only thing is it does not LOOK more pain free - and in this day and age that's all that matters.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Good on 'em

          I keep my own animals - I'd love to slaughter them at home rather than transport them to an abattoir but in the UK they have decided I cant do that and sell the meat - nothing to do with the EU just rules for big businesses benefit here.

          The abattoir smells - that seem to upset the animals on their arrival. As for the killing the electric stunning seems to knock them out more than adequately, as does the captive bolt before bleeding and the abattoir I go to separates the animals so they dont get too distressed- you dont want jumpy animals when your waving a set of electric tongs or a pistol.

          As for a sharp knife - sorry but that really hurts the animal - and is not necessary for halal or kosher meat. They both require the animal to be bled completely and being concious has nothing to do with it.

          Check up on reports of people communicating with severed heads at executions if you dont believe me.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Good on 'em @ Tom 7

            "Check up on reports of people communicating with severed heads at executions if you dont believe me."

            I don't, because there isn't a single reliable source of people "communicating with severed heads". All the ones I've seen fall into the homeopathy category of reliability

            1. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: Good on 'em @ Tom 7

              If you cant be bothered to read up on that find someone who has had a major artery slashed - unconsciousness is not immediate and it bloody hurts. Or just get someone to throttle you - when the blood pressure in the brain is reduced by cutting off the blood flow you dont pass out immediately.

              Or try it yourself - if you really dont think its cruel you shouldn't have a problem with it. But if you can do that and convince yourself the animals not suffering you really should not be let near animals at all.

        2. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Good on 'em

          I think the main thing is that Halal / Kosher is more expensive than loading the animals onto a conveyor belt that feeds them into an automated killing / butchering machine.

    2. Denarius Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Good on 'em

      obviously you have not met any farmers, or more likely, been wound up at the pub. Farmers care about their stock for reasons of rational self interst. Contented stock are more profitable. Have you had a look at the old stock routes ? Muranji for instance. A long, dry way to go to slaughter. There are rules about food and water stops for cattle road trains.

      As for animal liberationists, one has to wonder how much of their attitudes are derived from romances about cartoon Bambis. Domesticated big animals have longer healthier lives than most wild life. The cases of cruelty locally were filmed without drones, except perhaps the organics carrying hidden cameras. One wonders if libbers will object to drones following them when they plan their activities

    3. Liam Thom

      Re: Good on 'em

      WTF? Breeding cattle for slaughter in no way excludes people from caring about their animals' welfare. You ruined a good point about transportation by showing your bigotry.

    4. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Good on 'em

      A long time ago in a different lifetime I spent a few interesting months working in an abattoir. While I didn't witness or perform Kosher or HalAl slaughter, I do know from my experience on the killing floor that if it wasn't quick, efficient and painless then the practice wouldn't have survived for several thousand years. Any killing method that is neither quick, efficient nor painless tends to have an inconveniently high rate of failure which, when you're killing a cow, can quickly result in 3/4 of a ton of Very Pissed Off Indeed. This a sufficiently sub-optimal result to ruin a whole day. There has been a lot of work done on de-stressing animals prior to slaughter not only for the sake of the animals, but because it makes slaughtering much more efficient. I recommend a quick google on Temple Grandin, she's the go-to-girl for cattle management.

      Sheep are less of a problem, but once you're killing for the wider population then pigs can be a nightmare. Get them stressed and you've got to get them calmed down again and flush the adrenaline from their bloodstream otherwise the meat tastes awful.

      1. Sparks

        Re: Good on 'em

        From over 30 years ago (seriously, what does it take to settle arguments like this?):

        http://www.mustaqim.co.uk/printhalalstudy.htm

        From Deutsche Tieraerztliche Wochenschrift (German veterinary weekly) volume 85 (1978), pages 62-66

        translated by Dr Sahib M. Bleher, Dip Trans MIL

        The approach of these studies can be summarised as follows:

        Experiments for measuring the heart frequency and brain activity during slaughter conditions were carried out on 23 sheep and 15 calves. After implanting permanent electrodes into the Os frontale the cerebral cortex impulses were measured for 17 sheep and 10 calves during ritual slaughter and for 6 sheep and 5 calves during captive bolt application with subsequent bloodletting. Some sheep were additionally subjected to thermal pain stimuli after the ritual cut.

        ...

        These first experiments carried out under clinical conditions and the insights for the correlations of sensory physiology during stunning/slaughter of small ruminants initially lead to the following factual and legal considerations for the preparation of legislation:

        These experiments on sheep and calves carried out within a clinic show that during a ritual slaughter, carried out according to the state of the art using hydraulically operated tilting equipment and a ritual cut, pain and suffering to the extent as has since long been generally associated in public with this kind of slaughter cannot be registered; the ritual slaughter carried out under these experimental conditions complies with the requirements of article 4 para. 1 TierSchG. The EEG zero line – as a certain sign of the expiration of cerebral cortex activity and according to today’s state of knowledge also of consciousness – occurred generally within considerably less time than during the slaughter method after captive bolt stunning.

        1. Badvok

          Re: Good on 'em

          You have to wonder about a study that includes the statement: "A clear reaction to the cut could not be detected in any animal." when talking about slitting the throat of a living, breathing mammal. As soon as the knife cuts through the throat they stop trying to breathe or react to the pain of the cut - yeah right, of course they do, keep telling yourself that and you'll soothe your conscience. I suspect there is a just a little bit of bias in that report.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good on 'em

            > As soon as the knife cuts through the throat they stop trying to breathe or react to the pain of the cut - yeah right, of course they do,

            Indeed so, since just before the blade got to the throat it cut the main artery to the brain, so the animal was already unconscious. If you've ever cut yourself badly with a really sharp knife you'll know that it takes several seconds before you register pain, often that is after you see the blood start to pour.

            1. Badvok

              Re: Good on 'em

              Unless you are relying on movies and television as your main information sources (see Dr. Spock) you may also be aware that it actually takes several seconds for a loss of blood pressure/flow to the brain to bring on full unconsciousness. The searing pain and struggle for breath are likely to prolong this time, though with the artery cut at least there wouldn't also be an adrenaline boost.

    5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Good on 'em

      > Animals are moved on journeys that often exceed 1000km or more in crowded cattle trucks to a coastal port.

      isn't that called "Qantas Economy Class" ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm...

    I seem to recall reading that anti-fox hunting protesters in the UK are using (or maybe looking at using) UAVs in order to follow hunts and make sure that they're not allowing the hounds to kill the fox. Having seen the aftermath of some hunts - they're happy to take hunts through people's gardens and over private land - it's something they can and should put up with.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      as long as they themselves agree to be followed by UAVs wherever they go, with all footage available to anyone who wants it, with or without a warrant, then no problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm...

        If you run horses onto other people's land without any warning, for desire to chase an animal, you give up any rights to your own "privacy" in my opinion.

        Anyway, if they don't complain about all the Internet based mapping services, they can hardly complain about being watched from a toy airplane.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm...

          then let the police deal with the matter, if they are committing an offence.

          How do you know "they don't complain ab out all the Internet based mapping services"? have you asked all of "them" ?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm...

            That's the point, the Police don't have the time or resources to deal with hunts, hence why data gathering techniques such as these are being undertaken by anti-hunt types.

            It's very much like my use of a cycle camera when I cycle in city traffic - I'm pretty sure that the people cutting me up object to being filmed, but I don't have a particularly large amount of sympathy for them. Also, that their (potential) crimes are being committed in public does remove any real expectation of privacy.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hmm...

              fine, so the next time a cyclist cycles across a pedestrian crossing rather than behaving properly, you support pedestrians "rights" to take their pic, dismounted with their face in full view, and an identifying mark such as a reg plate on their bike?

              It s not data-gathering, it's warrantless surveillance, and it's supposed to be illegal. Although i suppose you could always claim they are terrorists & get away with anything (apart from extraditing them for trial, obviously)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      Well maybe the townies should stop bitching about foxes killing / injuring kids....after all they are lovely cuddlly wuddly creatures that do no harm and should be hugged and loved.

      What many animal do gooders forget is what are the alternatives?

      Poison? indiscriminate, will kill most other carnivorousness animals as well, good answer that.

      Bio weapon? Well,that worked well with rabbits didn't it?

      Shooting, you have to be a bloody good shot to kill a fox (usually moving), at any sort of distance, with a single shot. Usually you will injure it, where it will limp off and die of blood loss / starvation or have to wait until the landowner arrives to finish it off.

      Hunting isn't great, but at least when the hounds do catch it, it's over very bloody quickly

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm...

        I'm now a "Townie" but grew up in the Wharfe Valley, my friends had farms, I helped with lamming, etc. We lived in a valley where there are no hunts, the farmers wouldn't tolerate it. We also lived in a valley where there is not a fox problem.

        Some people may be under the impression that the fox is a cuddly little critter, but many people are of the opinion that even if it is a predator, it's neither acceptable nor efficient in any way to get a bunch of toffs on horseback to chase it with dogs and rip it to pieces. Most hunts meet rarely, they'll sometimes not even find a fox, mostly only find one. A skilled farmer knows where he can place poisoned food so that a fox will find it, he also knows where to shoot it from.

        Oh and don't give me the "it's all over quickly" bollocks, because it's just that, absolute bollocks well over half the time.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Hmm...

          "......A skilled farmer knows where he can place poisoned food so that a fox will find it....." Exactly the same place an otter or badger will find it, or a domestic cat or dog. I too grew up in the countryside and lost pets to and saw wild animals killed by poison, so you can stop that claptrap, thanks.

      2. John Angelico

        Re: Hmm...shooting?

        There would be restrictions on shooting within close range of populated areas.

        In Aus, fox are classed as introduced vermin, they are still predatory, and yes it takes a good shot to bring one down. They manage to slyly dodge Rule 303.

        The best foxes I've seen are the road kill - thoroughly dead. (This leads to regular references to Ruddigore "pass the fox, gentlemen? Yes, that's unanimous.")

        For now, it is the most frequent method of disposal, as it happens that we currently don't have any bounty on them.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    "With cattle trucks lying in wait ... for the next time" (Pink Floyd)

    > film of Australian cattle being treated inhumanely

    That would be inbovinely, shurely?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Joke

      Re: "With cattle trucks lying in wait ... for the next time" (Pink Floyd)

      That would be inbovinely, shurely?

      Hahaha. You guys kill me. Oh, wait ..

  12. The BigYin
    FAIL

    I was kinda with them up to...

    "[Pearson] said farmers with nothing to hide have nothing to fear".

    And that's where he fails - hard. We can get into a debate about where the suffering of an animal trumps one's right to privacy (and I tend to agree with that) but the ALA does not have a societal mandate to determine when this should apply. We have courts etc for this.

  13. Crisp

    What exactly are Animal Liberation Australia doing to help?

    If they really cared about these animals, then they would have boots on the ground helping these farmers.

    Instead, they are trying to gather evidence for litigation. How is that helping?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Animal Liberation Down Under

    Yawn! What a ridiculous non-story.

    These extremists will say anything to get on TV.

    They should get back into some real AL action such as campaigning for a pigeon racing ban.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Animal Liberation Down Under

      There is a campaign at the moment about racing pigeon treatment - they do seem to love flying them over the channel even though they often lose most of them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Animal Liberation Down Under

        > they often lose most of them.

        Too right, if someone tried to race me over the channel I wouldn't go home again either.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Animal Liberation Down Under

          It depends where they drop you off. I mean if someone dropped me off in Blackpool I'd be winging my way back across the channel before youl could say "blimey". Mind you I wouldnt necessarily be flying back to the bastard who dropped me off in Blackpool.

          Except maybe to crap on his windscreen a few times!

  15. taxman
    Big Brother

    They know something's happening

    or they must do. These things have a flight time of less than 30 mins. So unless they are already watching some 'mis-behaviour' with a video cam with a fine LF lens what's the point. Unless it's to get another view point.

  16. NomNomNom

    this will only provoke north korea more

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Coat

      Fetchez la vache.

      뭐라구??

      FETCHEZ LA VACHE!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Seulement la vache qui rit, surely?

        :)

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          The vache of Louis de Lombard doesn't rit, Monsieur!

    2. Crisp

      Almost anything

      will provoke North Korea more.

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    Farmers should welcome this measure

    I'm sure they get bored shooting at rabbits all day and could do with the target practice.

  18. mark 63 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "It sounds like a flock of blowflies"

    Only in aus would you "hear" a flock of flies .

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Only in Australia: The country tries to kill you while the Animal Liberation Front is looking after your cattle.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        ...and then you get downvoted, too!

  19. Roger Jenkins

    Small farms

    Not all animal farms in Australia are huge places.

    Where I live there a many small acreages 10- 100, mainly run by hobby farmers.

    These would be prime targets.

    During drought time many of these places are just too damned small to support the amount of livestock on them, the owners are always waiting for rain tomorrow, they don't often buy in feed, they don't sell because prices are low.

    The animal welfare mob could stop their ute in the road, fire up the helicopter and send it to take photo's, then take appropriate action.

    I can't see this device being used with cattle stations as the target. I can see them using it on small acreages and there are thousands of them.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Small farms

      That makes it alright, then ...

      Oh, wait ...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really get annoyed with radical animal-rights people

    and so are a lot of farmers I know.

    Let me get something straight immediately. I am not against animals being treated with an appropriate amount of respect, but lets face it, even the best farmers suffer livestock losses. Animals sometime do just keel over in the fields for no previously obvious reason. Even in the Archers (recent story line, Pip Archer did not check properly, and a ewe and two lambs died).

    I used to farm-sit for my father-in-law on occasion so he could have a break. One day, after moving one part of his flock of sheep in the morning to a field with plenty of water, grass and shade for the day, I went to check and move them back mid-afternoon (about six hours later).

    I found two sheep dead. And what had they died of? Over eating. Both of them had eaten too much clover, and had suffered ruptured stomachs.

    I know, clover is renowned for this, but seriously, how stupid are sheep! I know that I will never make a farmer, but I did diligent checking and they still keeled over.

    In the UK, all you need is for somebody to come along at the wrong time and see a dead sheep in a field, and report it to the RSPCA, and the farmer could be in deep trouble almost immediately. It is not possible to watch sizeable flocks all the time.

    Sometimes, the animal rights people look more like a 'ban all animal use for human benefit'. This seems especially the case when they threaten violence to people to improve animal welfare. Maybe they have to be reminded that people are animals too!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: I really get annoyed with radical animal-rights people

      "I know, clover is renowned for this, but seriously, how stupid are sheep!"

      Well, I don't know about sheep, but the astronomer Tycho Brahe refused to leave a party to pee (it would have been impolitic), thereby rupturing his bladder and poisoning himself. He died in agony a week later.

      So, who knows - those sheep might have been brilliant, but just a bit lacking in foresight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I really get annoyed with radical animal-rights people

        those sheep might have been brilliant

        They must have been to know astronomy.

        Umm, I think I lost the thread somewhere (confused)..

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: I really get annoyed with radical animal-rights people

          Umm, I think I lost the thread somewhere (confused).."

          I suspect, since the topic is woolly sheep, that's a not a thread you are looking for. It's a ripping yarn.

          Yeah, the one coated in lanolin, thanks.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: I really get annoyed with radical animal-rights people

      If you had done diligent checking you would have found live bloated sheep and cured them.

      That's not to say they dont drop dead even with diligent checking but 6 hours after moving them???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I really get annoyed with radical animal-rights people

        You ever tried to look after 400+ sheep spread over 30 acres of Devon hillside? It used to take about an hour to walk around all of the fields, checking that there were none stuck in the hedges or fences or out on the road.

        Checking on sheep twice a day appears to be the norm for most farmers. Normally early in the morning and late in the afternoon, so that you can do something useful in between.

        Even if I had found them, I'm not really sure what I would have done. Probably tried to get them into another field, and chase them around a bit to try to get rid of the bloat. As I say, I probably would not make it as a farmer, and I'm afraid I can't get a border collie doing it for me.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I really get annoyed with radical animal-rights people

        ".....6 hours after moving them???...." Gee, I'm guessing you're a townie, as you seem to know SFA about farming. There happens to be quite a bit to do even on a small-holding (even more with the added red-tape and paperwork insisted on by townie civil servants). My neighbour used to be working 5am and rarely finished before 7pm, and that was with two teenage sons to help him in the hours before and after school. And yes, animals were often left unattended in fields for most of the day. I love the countryside but I would not consider being a famer as it is just far too much hard work. If you don't believe me then I would recommend you take a holiday and volunteer on a farm for a fortnight, it would seriously remove the political blinkers.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I really get annoyed with radical animal-rights people

      ".....the animal rights people look more like a 'ban all animal use for human benefit'....." The whole Animal Liberation trip has nothing to do with animal rights and all to do with continuing outdated class-war beliefs. For them, farmers = landowners = The Rich, regardless of whether the farmer is a smallholder. Nothing exposes this sham more than how these "Animal Rights" proponents often happily wear leather clothes and shoes but then complain about (rich) people wearing fur or farms that have the very livestock their leather comes from.

  21. Sparks

    " farmers with nothing to hide have nothing to fear"

    Dunno about farmers, but everyone else in the world has plenty to hide and with damn good reason. Your PIN, your credit card number and security code, your wife's favorite sexual position, etc, etc, etc. Privacy exists for a damn good reason.

    Besides, if this Animal Liberation lot are the local branch of this happy bunch ( http://www.directaction.info/index.htm ) then they deserve locking up, not being allowed fly surveillance drones. Seriously, any group that needs seperate icons for Arson, Sabotage and Vandalism (to say nothing of "Liberation" - meaning the release of non-native apex predators into an unprepared ecosystem which they then devastate) on their webpages is really one that the local police ought to be looking at with surveillance drones...

  22. SteveB299
    Thumb Down

    Daily Mail

    Since when was this forum bought out by The Daily Mail!?

    Any mention of animal rights or the environment seems to precipitate the type of response you'd expect from "Disgusted, Chipping Sodbury."

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Daily Mail

      Are you some kind of leftist?

      1. SteveB299
        Facepalm

        Re: Daily Mail

        Leftist, eh!?

        It appears that American, religious right rhetoric is becoming more commonplace in the UK. If you care about our global life support system (ie. the environment) then you must be some kind of atheist leftist, as God is the only person with his hand on Earth's thermostat and therefore able to make changes.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Daily Mail

          What! Atheist an AGW believer, too! My Goodness! What is this civilization coming to.

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: SteveB299 Re: Daily Mail

          ".....If you care about our global life support system (ie. the environment) then you must be some kind of atheist leftist....." You may be right. After all, Adolf Hitler was a veggie, loved doing watercolours of countrysides, and was very fond of animals, especially his dogs, and was continually in conflict with the Catholic church. And the Nazi Party was a Socialist one, just like the original Italian Fascists (Mussolini was originally a member of the PSI, the Italian Socialist Party). Oh, sorry, was that not the example of caring lefties you were thinking of?

    2. Gavin McMenemy

      Re: Daily Mail

      No, we're not all right wing loons but that also doesn't mean we think animals rights extremist have carte blanche to do as they will in the name of the animals.

  23. Fatman
    Joke

    Likely Excuse...

    "Sorry Your Honor, but I was out skeet shooting, and I didn't realize it wasn't a clay pigeon."

  24. Don Jefe

    99 Problems But

    A civilian drone ain't one. Until you get into military class drones everything else is a radio controlled toy. Even the best R/C pilots will tell you not to get into the hobby if you aren't prepared to crash it (or it crashes itself). When the inevitable crash(es) occur it will be interesting to see how they retrieve it.

  25. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Hard to see, huh?

    > “It sounds like a flock of blowflies and at twenty metres you can't see it,” Pearson said, explaining it will be hard to hear or see when in use.

    Yeah well, if a tenth of what I heard about the people in the outback is to be believed, flocks of blowflies will get a lot of attention from scope-equipped rifles in the next few month...

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Hard to see, huh?

      Ever try to swat a fly? They're pretty hard to hit. Having said that, if this flying machine buzzes around like a fly then I suppose the video picture quality may suffer, unless it comes with something like Steadicam.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    “It sounds like a flock of blowflies and at twenty metres you can't see it”

    That's what she said.

  27. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    "<group> with nothing to hide have nothing to fear"

    The moment I see/hear that line I stop agreeing with the speaker/writer.

    We need a version of Godwin's Law to cover this. The moment you trot out the "nothing to hide/nothing to fear" argument you have automatically lost the argument.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Neoc's Law

      The moment you trot out the "nothing to hide/nothing to fear" argument you have automatically lost the argument.

      I like it. I shall promulgate, postulate and propagate it.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: "<group> with nothing to hide have nothing to fear"

      I've been doing that for years. Good to have you aboard!

      1. HeyMickey
        Big Brother

        Re: "<group> with nothing to hide have nothing to fear"

        If someone trots out this tired old line, just ask them if they would be so kind to post their credit/debit card details including CVV, together with the last 3 years tax returns/bank statements. Also, every photo in the family album.

        Or ask them if they mind you coming around and installing CCTV in their bedroom/bathroom...

        Or ask for all their forum passwords...

        Usually shuts them up.

  28. david 12 Silver badge

    Seems like a good idea...

    One of the common objections has been that AL members shouldn't be allowed on farms because (it is claimed) they subvert quarantine restrictions (particularly important for animals raised in highly stressed conditions).

    I am not, and never have been, a member of AL, but I'm inclined to cut them some slack.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Seems like a good idea...

      ".....they subvert quarantine restrictions....." In 2001 there was a farm near Highhampton in Devon that had three suspected cases of foot-and-mouth. The three animals had been segregated and were in a barn with a sign on the door saying "quarantined", but some do-gooders still trespassed onto the farm, broke into the barn and "checked on" the animals, then went and cheerfully "checked on" not just the rest of the farm's stock but also the neighbouring three farms, spreading the infection and leading to ALL the livestock on all four farms being slaughtered. Their excuse was the barn had no windows and it was "cruel" to keep the animals in the barn.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems like a good idea...

        >In 2001 there was a farm near Highhampton in Devon that had three suspected cases of foot-and-mouth. Th

        Ah. That would be the source of the idea then. Some unidentified trespasser on some unidentified farm in some unidentified story.

        Good thing they didn't have drone surveillance then: it would have ruined a good story.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Public land to private land

    The way the law was explained to a friend of mine in one jurisdiction was that.

    If it was normally viewable "unaided" from public land (or other private land), then there was no right to privacy.

    However, if, by example, someone was using a telescope, climbing to the top of a fence, etc, then they were indeed violating your privacy.

    AL here seems to be trying to get around that with the "public interest clause", but that will fail the first time a farmer reports it to the police when there is nothing illegal to be seen. He will also be entitled to a civil suit (though damages are hard to prove).

    NB. This friend happened to enjoy swimming naked in his private pool surrounded by a 3m high wall. A complaint was filed by a neighbour who clearly had to have been using a ladder or sitting on his roof.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Privacy?

      It seems to be the privacy of the animals themselves that would be invaded, and I don't suppose there's a law about that.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Privacy? @ Robert Carnegie

        Are you trying to funny? If so, it failed.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          No; serious.

          Apparently they're concerned about animal neglect specifically. If the animals are being neglected then presumably there's nobody there who's human. The people who are nglecting the animals are somewhere else, doing the neglecting. Privacy is for humans only, or am I missing the point?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Holmes

            Re: No; serious.

            "Privacy is for humans only, or am I missing the point?"

            So as long as I wait until you're out of the house, I can go through all your stuff?

  30. henchan
    Big Brother

    Whether or not the drones actually fly and get shot down, the publicity is likely to do good. Certainly with only a brace of drones available for such a large territory this is almost entirely about perception anyway.

    Some farmer who otherwise would have neglected their livestock, (which most agree would be a cruel and possibly illegal act) will now think twice about how they would feel if others knew what they did. Not all neglectful farmers will change their behaviour of course. Still, some is better than none.

    I am reminded of a game theory experiment about honesty and being "watched".

    Effects of eye images on everyday cooperative behavior: a field experiment:

    http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/daniel.nettle/ernestjonesnettlebateson.pdf

    Big Brother, because He watches and protects us, yea even the beasts of the field.

  31. Chet Mannly

    Can we have some accuracy please?

    "film of Australian cattle being treated inhumanely in Indonesian abattoirs recently saw live cattle exports suspended after a public outcry"

    NO - the film was NOT of Australian cattle - our stupid government destroyed a major part of the industry based on a beat up story by groups just like this filming conditions at abbatoirs that did not process Australian cattle.

    Watch these drones get shot out of the sky - 20m off the ground, the size of a duck and flying slow enough to film?

    A 12 guage shotgun would take care of that nicely, and I bet Aussie farmers have more shells on hand than these guys do drones :-)

  32. Glen Turner 666

    Commenters overcompensating with shotguns rather than sportscars

    What is it with people and shotguns? If it's high enough to be regulated by CASA then you are shooting at an aircraft. All you need is one set of aviation laws with amped up penalties after a decade of terrorism hype, one gung-ho police prosecutor who wants to leave a rural backwater, and one dim magistrate (odds are good, he's still in the sticks twenty years on) and you're off to do time.

    When the police rock up and you're holding a shotgun and the air smells of firing, then the cops aren't listening to you rail against these hypocritical greenies flying stuff over your head and destroying the peace and quiet of the countryside they're supposedly saving. The cops are going to be much more concerned about separating you and the gun, and wondering if all of your babbling indicates a dangerous mental state.

    By far your best bet is to go and ask the people to stop harassing you with their strange plane. And if they don't, then ring the police. Then you're the injured local, they're the outsiders acting outrageously using a new form of trespass, and the police will try to solve your problem rather than wondering about the travel time for the special weapons squad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Commenters overcompensating with shotguns rather than sportscars

      Eh?

      Farmers and guns go together, even in this gun-shy environment in the UK.

      In the UK which has some of the strictest gun controlled laws in the world, it is still legal to own and shoot a properly licensed shotgun on your own land, at pretty much any target you like as long as you are not being cruel to livestock, shooting endangered species or threatening people. It is still even possible to shoot foxes, just not flush them out with any more than two dogs.

      At a height of 20 metres, it's no different from shooting game birds, and farmers shoot rabbits all the time. The police probably would not bat an eyelid unless people were directly threatened. They may even laugh at the operators of the 'copters for being so stupid.

      Often, the police in the country are well versed in the ways of country people, and I really don't think that a shotgun has the range to threaten aircraft flying above the lowest safe altitude specified by the local air traffic control (typically over 200 feet even if the aircraft is engaged in filming). My brother-in-law shoots quite legally under the Heathrow landing path.

      And I imagine that Australia probably has less stringent gun laws than the UK, and the minimum safe altitude specified by Australia is at least 1000 feet above the highest obstacle.

      1. Bubba Von Braun
        Thumb Up

        Re: Commenters overcompensating with shotguns rather than sportscars

        400ft above the ground level.

        And yes AU have strict laws like the UK, but Farmers are one of the few categories that can justify weapons, do dispatch rabbits and other vermin like drones.

    2. Thorne

      Re: Commenters overcompensating with shotguns rather than sportscars

      "When the police rock up and you're holding a shotgun and the air smells of firing, then the cops aren't listening to you rail against these hypocritical greenies flying stuff over your head and destroying the peace and quiet of the countryside they're supposedly saving. The cops are going to be much more concerned about separating you and the gun, and wondering if all of your babbling indicates a dangerous mental state."

      This is Australia. The cops won't turn up until weeks later at best. The only cops you see around here are holding a radar or a breath tester...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry M'lad

    I thought it was a flying road sign.

  34. -tim
    Black Helicopters

    It is commercial if it has a camera

    The comments at a recent UAV talk suggested that CASA claims that you need a commercial license for any commercial use if it has a camera, the device is considered commercial. It is not allowed to fly above 400 AGL and real planes aren't to be under 500 ft AGL in rural areas unless they are landing or taking off.

    1. Bubba Von Braun
      FAIL

      Re: It is commercial if it has a camera

      Tim, check CASR 101.F.1 specifically 101.270 requires a UAV operators license for any commercial use. It makes no mention that includiong a camera makes the activitity "commercial use"

      101.235 is quite clear that if it is used for any purpose other than sport or recreation. (101.235 1(b)) then they must be licensed. Unless the operator keeps it in sight and its operated in a way to be compliant with CASR 101.G (Model Aircraft)

      The stated intention ALA is not sport or recreation, but surveliance. Like allot of therse orgs, they love to flout the law, my money is on the farmer with the shotgun shooting crows.

      1. -tim
        Black Helicopters

        Re: It is commercial if it has a camera

        I was just reporting what I heard and that was if it has a camera it is commercial and requires that license.

  35. Silverburn
    Black Helicopters

    So much FUD here..

    1. Drones != RC quadcopter or even UAV. Drones are unmanned military platforms. RC quads and UAV's are not - the human is in control. Even with APM doing waypoints, the human is still in the loop - just like cruise control or autoparking in your car still requires you to be the driver. Please stop calling them "drones".

    2. Privacy. We do not need new privacy laws for RC quads etc, simply because they have a camera attached. Sticking a gopro on a broomhandle and filming your neighbour doing strange things with furniture and vasaline in his bedroom is already illegal in most countries. Attaching it to a RC quad does not make anymore more illegal.

    3. Using a UAV or RC quad for commerical use is fine, but adding a camera does not make it so. RC quads used for agriculture, mapping, IR body heat detection (in collapsed buildings) etc, are all commercial and must be licenced, and you must be qualified to operate, and do all the paperwork. Whether it carries a camera or not is academical.

    4. The farmer has a point - this RC was trespassing. End of. No point bleating about it. But lets not drag this into a debate about "drones", because that's a dark path. Both are at fault here, but unfortunately, the RC operator is the one who could be prosecuted - the video evidence was obtained "illegally" so the farmer is in the clear legally (though not morally). Just because it was obtained using a quad is irrelevant.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020