Last week we saw another attempt from the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to disrupt an agricultural industry.
The footage was strategically released and designed to sensationalize the mistreatment of sheep during shearing. PETA have shown their aggressive tactics before and the footage cannot be taken at face value. There are many questions which PETA needs to answer before we have a true understanding of what has actually occurred.
We must question the way in which PETA was able to obtain the footage released last week. It is illegal to go on to a farm and take footage without permission. So under what circumstances was this footage gathered? I also strongly question any individual’s motives if they are willing to stand by and watch cruelty without stepping in right away.
Australia owes much of its prosperity to the wool trade which has evolved over centuries to keep up with best practice and animal husbandry techniques. Significant investments have been made by growers and industry bodies to develop wool handling and shed skills.
No good farmer condones cruelty to animals. Not only do most farmers love their animals, there is a clear financial incentive for animals to be kept in the best condition possible. Animals are at their most productive when they are not under stress.
It is very clear that PETA’s aim is to shut down the industry. This would be terrible for the wool growers who have worked for many years selecting the best genetics for a sheep that produces high quality wool.
Over recent years Australian agriculture has looked at ways that various industries can adjust to meet the high standard set for them by the consumer, including the wool industry. The Greens and activists are happy to create a hue and cry rather than take practical steps towards better outcomes in agriculture. The fact is that the cost is not borne by the activists but by the industry and the farmers that they are attempting to shut down.
Animal rights activists are not interested in working with industry to ensure that best practice is maintained; they want to shut agricultural industry down. This would be tragic for regional Australia and for the world as we look at increasing worldwide food and fibre shortages for our burgeoning global population.
It is the responsibility of the police and the RSPCA to investigate allegations of animal cruelty. They are the correct authorities and it is their task to determine whether it would be in the interests of the investigation to have the footage in the public domain.
Meanwhile farmers across Australia continue to work hard every day to produce food and fibre of the highest possible quality standards. I urge every thinking Australian to get behind our farmers-without them we wouldn’t have the clothes on our backs and the food at our tables.