VICTORIAN farmers have lodged a written complaint with the Advertising Standards Bureau about PETA's latest campaign against the wool industry which features a fake freshly shorn lamb covered in blood and cuts.
Australian musician Jona Weinhofen (lead guitarist with the band, I Killed the Prom Queen) fronts PETA's controversial advertisement holding a mutilated "lamb" prop alongside the words: "Here's the rest of your wool coat".
Farmers across the country have been deeply offended and angered by PETA's latest attack on the sheep and wool industry.
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) this week vowed to "fight tooth and nail" on behalf of growers, announcing it had made an official complaint about the advertisement to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
VFF last week described PETA's latest attack against wool as "grotesque" and "an insult" to thousands of Australian farmers and shearers.
“It’s a false image, backed by false and insulting claims,” VFF Livestock Group president Ian Feldtmann said.
PETA claims that anyone who buys wool “supports a cruel and bloody industry”. But Mr Feldtmann said the vast majority of growers and shearers treated sheep well.
“It’s in our own interest to treat our animals humanely, given good treatment means healthy animals and good productivity,” he said.
“As I’ve said before, like most producers, I’d kick anyone off my property who mistreated my sheep.
“All Australians should realise that PETA is all about portraying extreme behaviour as the norm,” Mr Feldtmann said.
WoolProducers Australia last week issued a statement refuting the “ridiculous claims” made by PETA regarding the Australian wool industry.
“Sheep producers are continually investing in sheep health and welfare. Over the last five years, more than $50 million has been spent on research and development, biosecurity, health and welfare programs,” the statement said.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Agriculture Minister Richard Colbeck said the use of celebrity opinion in the latest PETA anti-wool campaign fell into the category recently highlighted by Australia's chief scientist, Professor Ian Chubb.
In a National Press Club address last month in Canberra, Professor Chubb said the general public needs to understand the difference between an expert and a “ranting entertainer” especially on issues like GM crops.
Meanwhile, Western Australian advocacy group WAFarmers has launched a crowdfunding campaign to send Weinhofen to shearing school for a hands-on education about Australia’s wool industry.
WAFarmers president Dale Park said the fake lamb is only the first of many misrepresentations in the unethical campaign.
“No one that I know would shear a lamb that size – it looks a day old – and certainly they wouldn’t tolerate such a low standard of shearing,” Mr Park said.
“The PETA campaign preys on people that have no knowledge of shearing practices.
“Shearers are trained in best practice technique and any shearer that did that to a sheep would be out of a job.”
It costs $4500 to send a person with no prior experience to shearing school, and if WAFarmers raises this money, it will invite Weinhofen to attend one of these schools "so he is better informed about the practices he is commenting on".
Weinhofen tweeted on Tuesday: "if you raise $4500 and donate it to charity I'll go to any school", but reiterated his belief that shearing is inherently cruel.
If more than $4500 is raised, WAFarmers plans to extend the invitation to the CEO, marketing department and staff at PETA, "to clarify any misconceptions they may have".
To support the campaign visit send-jona-weinhofen-to-shearing-school.