In their latest campaign, PETA has lambasted the Australian and New Zealand wool industry by posting ads depicting a bloodied and bruised ‘sheep’ – being the latest victim of shearing.
This is certainly not the first time the wool industry has come under fire for inhumane treatment of livestock, especially during the inquest into live export procedures, but this campaign has stirred up frustration across the wool industry as a whole.
Farmers and Agriculture Minister – Barnaby Joyce, have taken to social media to defend the realities of sheering as being the opposite of those appearing in the anti-wool campaign.
Southern Queensland superfine wool producer Margaret Smith came out to voice her disappointment with the PETA campaign.
“I get really quite upset with these people who are living thousands of miles from us in a lot of cases…and they are telling us what we can and can’t do and they really have no idea of actually what happens,” she said.
Federated Farmers meat and fibre industry chair, Rick Powdrell, who was also a shearer when he was younger, said the New Zealand wool industry was wary of the PETA material.
“Our livestock are our livelihood, we treat them with a lot of respect,” he said. His issue, like most farmers, is that Sheep actually benefit from shearing, which allows them to be protected against fly strike, which can see the animal become infected by flies and maggots.
The wool industry does not deny, that there have been cases of sheep not being handled correctly during shearing, but is quick to point out that these cases are swiftly rectified and they do not account for the majority of shearing experiences.
The RSPCA has raised concerns about the way some sheep are sheared, stating that the experience for some is an “acute stressor”, which could be reduced by “requiring shearers to be accredited and ensuring recognised training programs which incorporate principals of animal welfare, handling and the importance of good stockmanship.”
Good stockmanship is exactly what the wool industry is built upon, says Queensland grazier Mac Drysdale, who has reached out to PETA to discuss animal welfare in the sheep and wool industry, with farmers and industry leaders.
“I think that it is important to assume that there is a proportion of the PETA movement who are quite rational people and that they have a goal that they are setting out to achieve,” he said.
Mamamia contributor Elissa Ratliff also voiced her frustration with the campaign, citing her experience as contradictory to PETA’s message; “As a woman whose family has run sheep for over three generations, I am furious. Not because of their choice of image (which is in bad taste, but that’s not unusual). I am angry about the complete and utter absence of research that has gone into the central claims of their campaign.”
What do you think about PETA’s latest campaign targeting the Australian and New Zealand wool industry?