Author Topic: Footage shows shearers punching, kicking and throwing sheep, hitting sheep  (Read 12310 times)

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Welfare group targets abuse in Australian shearing sheds 

ABC Rural  By Lucy Barbour and Edwina Farley 

    PETA video shows alleged abuse of sheep in Australian shearing sheds. height=227 Photo: An image from a PETA video showing alleged abuse of sheep in Australian shearing sheds. (PETA website)   

Animal rights group PETA has renewed its attack on the Australian wool industry, this time releasing a video showing abuse of sheep in shearing sheds.

The footage, obtained by hidden cameras and released on YouTube, shows shearers punching, kicking and throwing sheep, as well as using electric shears and a hammer to hit the animals.

It was obtained through an investigation by PETA United States, as part of a campaign to stop people buying and wearing wool.     
PETA says it's sending the footage to international retailers that sell wool, including Ralph Lauren Corporation and J.Crew, to encourage them to end their sales of wool products.         

 Audio: PETA launches campaign targeting sheep shearers (ABC Rural) The group claims the footage was taken at 19 shearing sheds in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

The farmers have the responsibility for ensuring that the animals in their care are treated appropriately.  Claire Fryer, PETA, Australian campaign co-ordinator

It also claims nine shearing contract firms, employing 70 workers, were involved - representing a total of more than five per cent of contractors listed nationally.

The group's Australian campaign co-ordinator, Claire Fryer, says some of the people filmed were aware that cameras were in place.

"The footage shows the workers violently punching sheep in the face, stomping and standing on the animal's necks, and also beating them in the face with electric clippers and even a hammer," Ms Fryer said.

"It's also important to mention that there were station managers, farm hands and workers affiliated with producers in some sheds, and no-one was remanded for any of the abuse."

The RSCPA says it received PETA's complaint last night. That's despite PETA obtaining the footage between August 2013 and March this year.

Claire Fryer says the group withheld the footage until now because it was waiting for the investigation to be 'finalised'.

 It goes against everything we know and everything we see in the Australian wool industry.  Martin Oppenheimer, NSW director, Australian Wool Growers Association.

"Obviously the farmers have the responsibility for ensuring that the animals in their care are treated appropriately," she said.

"PETA US has been compiling a strong case for authorities and it knows from experience that it needs that to help in this cruelty, otherwise authorities' hands are tied and this animal suffering will continue unabated."

The RSPCA say the allegations are serious and will be investigated by its inspectors as information comes to hand for potential breaches of the relevant state animal welfare legislation.

The founder of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, also says the group has asked police to investigate the footage and proceed with criminal charges.

"PETA is calling on shoppers around the world to reject cruelty to animals, and that means never buying wool," Ms Newkirk said. Past cruelty complaintsThe footage follows a story broken by ABC Rural in which a sheep producer complained about cruelty by shearing contractors.

As a result of that complaint the Australian Workers Union, which oversees the shearing contract industry, encouraged the wool industry and farmers to stamp out animal welfare abuse.

Farmers have also complained about the culture among shearing contractors, with some saying they feel powerless to do anything about the abuse apart from sending contractors home.

Just last week, on his last day as CEO of the National Farmers Federation, outgoing chief Matt Linnegar highlighted likely welfare campaigns that would centre on the actions of farmers and workers on-farm.

Mr Linnegar said the agriculture industry has a long way to go in order to build trust between farmers and consumers.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the research, development and marketing organisation for the Australian wool industry, said in a statement that 'AWI categorically and unequivocally condemns the mistreatment of animals.'

It maintains it's invested $2.8million in the training of over 4000 shearers and shedhands in world’s best practise animal welfare in the last year alone, and more than $7million in the last five years.

Australian Wool Growers Association NSW director, Martin Oppenheimer, says the behaviour demonstrated in the videos is disturbing.

"It's very disappointing and it doesn't actually reflect what happens in the Australian wool industry today," Mr Oppenheimer said.

"Animal welfare is our highest priority and standards have improved over the last 20-30 years.

"It goes against everything we know and everything we see in the Australian wool industry."

But he says animal abuse inevitably exists in some shearing sheds.

"There'll always be isolated cases no matter what industry you're talking about and certainly, in most workplaces, drugs and alcohol can be issued, but who knows the circumstances that [PETA] are claiming
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 09:06:44 PM by WA Export News »