ACTIVISTS who steal farm animals could be spreading diseases among healthy animals, it has been claimed.
It is feared inspectors are unable to check on the health of animals because activists are removing their identity tags.
Sheep farmers in Australia say the National Livestock Identification System is now being compromised.
Tagging gives a full record of individual animals from birth to slaughter and is a way of guaranteeing they are disease-free.
But animal rescue groups have been behind a string of so called “rescues” on Australian sheep farms where animals have their tags removed and destroyed after they are stolen.
Groups called Australian Lamb Rescue and Victorian Lamb Rescue have claimed responsibility for some of the thefts.
They have claimed responsibility for their actions on Facebook.
Australian livestock farmer Christine Elliot said: “This is putting the whole biosecurity of our nation’s flock at risk by these do-gooders.
“The lamb rescue groups then foster these lambs out to others to raise and then end up somewhere to live a long and happy life! It’s all lovely but we as sheep producers we have to follow the law why not the lamb rescuers?”
The NLIS tag system was introduced in 1999 to help to trace Australian cattle during disease. The biosecurity tags are intended to stop disease and guarantee food safety for consumers.