A vegan animal activist said she stole several piglets after being confronted with “awful putrid” conditions at a Queensland piggery, a court has heard.
Lauren McGeachin, 28, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to stealing an animal that is stock and enter premises with intent.
She was ordered to pay $300 compensation to the piggery and to serve 90 hours of unpaid community service.
The court heard McGeachin and several others broke into the Cameron Pastoral Company’s Pittsworth piggery in November 2019 and stole six piglets.
She posted video on social media of herself and others inside the piggery near Toowoomba and of herself with the piglets.
Defence lawyer Kate McArthur said her client initially went along just to look at the piggery but found the conditions the animals were kept in “extremely confronting”.
“When she got in there she’s confronted with this putrid scene. She’s become, she tells me, overwhelmed. She was very distressed,” Ms McArthur said.
“She removed some of the live piglets who appeared to be in a very unwell state.
“She’s taken them out of a desire for their immediate welfare.”
The court heard in a separate incident in July 2019, McGeachin and several others either climbed over or cut through a fence to break in to an egg production facility in Warwick at night.
She pleaded guilty to enter premises with intent for that incident.
Police later searched one of her co-accused’s properties and found three stolen chickens.
Officers also seized several mobile phones and found images and video from inside the egg facility.
In sentencing, Magistrate Anthony Gett said he took into account McGeachin’s lack of criminal history and that she had submitted a letter of apology to the court.
“I note you are remorseful for your conduct and it seems you have some insight into the impact of your actions,” Magistrate Gett said.
“Not only on the investigating police to whom you’re apologetic but also the impact on others.
“In my view whatever conditions you found in the piggery did not justify your actions or entering a premises with intent.”
No conviction was recorded.