Animal activists are increasingly "crossing the line", a leading farmers group has said, after reports some offered money to whistleblowers for incriminating live exports footage.
Animals Australia sent emails discussing possible payments to a worker on the Awassi Express, the ship from which footage emerged of thousands of sheep dying in their own filth, The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday .
National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simpson says the allegations are "extremely concerning".
"When a cash reward is offered, it can act as an incentive to potentially misrepresent or manufacture circumstances where animals are indeed suffering," she said in a statement on Friday.
"This risk is demonstrated in correspondence from the crew member in which he evidently made an offer to Animals Australia to switch off the ventilation in order to obtain footage of sheep panting."
She also accused the activists of accessing farms without permission and disrupting the work of farmers.
But Ms Simpson said the alleged "questionable conduct" has in no way diminished the seriousness of the problems raised when footage emerged from the Awassi in April.
Whistleblower Fazal Ullah took video of the horrific scenes aired on 60 Minutes, prompting widespread outrage and an overhaul of the industry.
Animals Australia said Mr Ullah had obtained indisputable evidence of abuse, corroborated by other workers on the ship who were also concerned about animal welfare.
"The overwhelming evidence of suffering across five voyages, confirmed in End of Voyage Vet Reports, was accepted by industry associations and government regulators," a spokesman said in a statement.
"Mr Ullah was a brave whistleblower who came forward because of his genuine concerns about the suffering of animals in this disgraceful trade."
But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wouldn't criticise activists who may have made offers of payment.
"It's not my role to always judge how information gets out there," Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.
"For me, what worries me is the images we see."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, meanwhile, has criticised the behaviour.
"I'm very disappointed that the politics of this issue has led to that sort of behaviour," Mr Morrison told reporters in Fiji on Thursday.
The operators of the Awassi, Emanuel Exports, says it has begun a transparency project, which includes 30 politicians touring a vessel to see the livestock sheep export process on Wednesday.
Australian Associated Press