The latest campaign from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a perfect example of why this group lacks credibility within the farming sector.
Once again, PETA has taken an extreme message to extreme measures, stereotyping an entire industry as irresponsible drug takers.
A sign displayed on Dooen Road in Horsham reads: “Dave has been up on ice for three days. Shearing and drugs don’t mix. If you see something, say something. Always report animal abuse.”
We would argue workers in any industry, regardless of nature, shouldn’t mix work and drugs. It would be naive to say drugs aren’t a problem in our community – because it’s a fact that drugs and drug use are becoming more prevalent than ever.
Drugs don’t segregate any sector of the community. If we’re talking about drug use among the shearing community, that message can be generalised to any industry.
Shearing is a mentally and physically demanding job and to gain employment, and do this well, shearers must look after themselves and the stock they handle.
Just as an accountant must be savvy with numbers or teachers with children, shearers must respect and care for the stock they work with.
Quite simply, any less and they are in the wrong industry. They would, and should, find themselves out of work.
It’s unfortunate that PETA have taken the actions of the minority, including four shearers who faced animal cruelty charges in Horsham Magistrate’s Court in February, to drive their latest irrational campaign.
The vast majority of people working with stock will say the health and wellbeing of the animal is imperative.
Authorities and the farming sector take animal welfare issues very seriously – and rightly so.
The most productive animals are the ones that are well looked after.
Some groups get their point across rationally, with evidence-based argument. Others are completely excessive.
It’s unfortunate people who don’t understand how an industry works and don’t understand why things are done a certain way can often be the loudest voice.
Farming is our community’s lifeblood and so the outrage at this campaign is justified.
The campaign is as irrational as it is offensive.
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