The news was broken by PETA yesterday of the abject cruelty endemic in the shearing sheds of Australia.
It came with a video complete with an official sounding voice and emotional music.
Why is a dairy farmer having a rant about this?
I am against the mistreatment of all animals.
And I worked in the industry for about 10 years. So I do have some experience. But that’s a blog for another day.
I have seen the behavior depicted in this video, but I didn’t stand back and watch. I had a shearer sacked for treating sheep like that. I made enough noise in two other situations for the overseer and the grower to see what was happening and moved those horrid excuses for human beings on. I walked away from what would have been a lucrative job as a contractor allowed this sort of abuse to occur because the shearer was a ‘gun’ (lots of sheep shorn in a day) and even moved 800km’s away just to find a new team after basically being blacklisted where I was for it. All in all, I probably saw seven shearers act with such contempt for another living creature. They don’t get a lot of work.
Here is the video. Watch with an open but curious mind…
So here are a few of the problems I have with this video.
Firstly, why (again!) was the footage held for 12 months without prosecution of the shearers involved? This is something we see regularly from so called animal welfare advocates.
Some of the filming was obviously done with the full knowledge of the person being filmed. This can mean a few things. It could be a set up. It could be a mate filming a mate and that video has been used inappropriately.
A question that has been bubbling in the back of my mind is who has a hammer on their stand and why? Its not a normal part of a shearers kit.
Not surprisingly, some of the images were taken out of context.
The sewing up of a sheep is something that needs to be done from time to time. It has little to do with the per sheep payment system as reported by PETA. The reason a sheep ends up with a cut like that are varied but rarely does it lead to the death of the sheep. And no, pain relief is not used. PETA again are using emotion without facts. They are comparing human skin to that of an animal that has evolved to have less nerve endings in areas prone to damage.
There is also footage of a shearer with his foot on the sheep’s neck. To me it doesn’t look like much downward pressure is being used. Experience tells me its being held still so the sheep doesn’t kick and then need to be sewn up.
And lastly, who installed the cameras and was it done with full knowledge of the owners of the sheds involved.
If these groups had there way, every livestock enterprise in Australia would be under constant video surveillance with open to the public feeds over the internet. Nothing should be hidden in their view.
Agroterrorism is being used in this country by these groups to obtain footage they can then cut and paste to suit their own agenda. This is what I believe has happened here. Imagine what they would do with live feeds.
This picture was on the Weekly Times report about the video. I feel I should comment on this picture. Its out there for all the world to see. I have no idea where this picture came from but it doesn’t help anyone but PETA.
Or does it?
It shows a sheep with some blood. I do feel bad for this sheep. But looking at the picture I notice the sheep isn’t very cleanly shorn. There’s wool left on the rump. This indicates the shearer was probably a learner.
But the more interesting thing I notice is, except a tiny patch on the bottom left, the lack of blood on the fleece.
Could be a lucky shot… make your own assumptions.
I am also guessing you have more question. And you should! All of the material shown by ARA’s needs to be dissected and any cruelty that we can stop needs to be stopped!
But if you want information from people who know and understand, ask a farmer! They are the people with the hands on experience in animal welfare.
There are lots of farmers from all over the world to be found on Facebook and Twitter and most are more than willing to let you in on the workings of their enterprise.
Feel free to leave questions and comments. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll probably know someone who will.
Thanks for reading.