The owner of a Queensland abattoir wants activists charged after they stormed his business, chained themselves to fixtures on the floor of the killing room and stole three sheep.
More than 20 people invaded the Carey Bros Abattoir near Warwick before dawn on Monday as part of a national day of action by animal rights activists.
Related protests across the nation sparked dozens of arrests, with activists chaining themselves up in Melbourne's CBD, and nine charged with trespass after storming a NSW abattoir.
The coordinated protests had the prime minister labelling activists "green-collared criminals" and demanding they face the full force of the law.
But Queensland police say they cannot act until the abattoir's owner files a complaint.
Police have admitted they knew protesters were planning something, and had specifically rostered on staff in the Warwick area to deal with the anticipated action, while also warning local business owners to secure their sites.
Officers who were part of that operation even carried out random breath tests on activists as they made their way west.
But police say they did not know who the protesters would target until they got a call about 3.30am to say people had invaded the abattoir.
"The activists that were within the premises did have chains and padlocks," Acting Inspector Jamie Deacon told reporters in Warwick.
He said the situation was resolved peacefully, and the protesters left of their own accord after negotiating an exit that involved the surrender of three sheep.
Police later told AAP that the low-level offence of trespass required a complaint in order for Queensland authorities to act.
Carey Brothers abattoir owner Greg Carey has indicated he wants the activists charged.
"They are trying to bring our primary agricultural industry to its knees using stand over tactics ... this is un-Australian and harms the livelihood of many," he told the ABC.
Police were also called to another incident at nearby Freestone, where farmer Jason Christensen said carloads of activists pulled up and scared a herd of heifers.
He said the protesters swore at his father, and told him he should be growing vegetables.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the states must beef up trespass laws, so farm invaders would face serious penalties.
"If I broke into a suburban house in Melbourne or Sydney, I'd expect to be arrested, handcuffed and taken away. Breaking into a farm should be no different."
Queensland has already announced plans to allow police to issue hefty on-the-spot fines to activists, as farmers and meat industry businesses face a spike in protest action.
Australian Associated Press