Muddled message muddies waters

17 Jul, 2014 02:00 AM
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Vegan Cameron Blewett is no fan of intensive farming, but unimpressed by Aussie Farms' 'shock and awe' tactics.
Gruesome footage doesn’t get people to change their minds or create a paradigm shift
Vegan Cameron Blewett is no fan of intensive farming, but unimpressed by Aussie Farms' 'shock and awe' tactics.

Vegan CAMERON BLEWETT wants Australia to take part in a mature conversation about animal welfare issues - and he’s not impressed by the tactics employed by Aussie Farms and Chris Delforce.


Raising awareness or setting things back?

AUSTRALIAN ‘food’ animals have a new saviour in the Aussie Farms group of websites all thanks to the new poster boy for animal ‘rights’, Chris Delforce.

Whilst Mr Delforce is gleefully enjoying his 15 minutes of fame thanks to an eager media, it appears that he is paying very little attention to the damage that his comments and websites are doing to ‘the movement’.

Unfortunately, the more that Mr Delforce and his Aussie Farms website(s) appear in agricultural media, the more that animal advocates are being demonised, and the harder things will become in the future.

Confusing position

Mr Delforce is another one of a growing number of people who have labelled themselves as ‘Animal Rights Activists’, and have paid very little thought to what that actually means. Maybe ‘animal rights’ is the new black.

In a deleted Facebook discussion the question was asked on the Aussie Farms fan page how they envisioned these ‘rights’ being granted. Would it be through the granting of a type of personhood or via legislated rights, and would it apply to all animals, or only those used for food?

Their response was: we’re more interested in achieving a paradigm shift (as discussed in the interview) in the way animals are viewed, so that people view them not as stock or property, but as living, sentient animals who have a desire and a right to not be abused, exploited or killed. Laws prohibiting the killing of animals can only come as a result of this.

This appears to be contradictory to the footage and images that are on the Aussie Farms website. All I have been able to find are images and footage of other animals as they are used in the animal agricultural system. There are no scientific reports of the sentience of other animals, evidence of their desire to live or anything for that matter that would lead the viewer/reader to believe that they are anything else than property.

If it is Mr Delforce and Aussie Farms’ true intent to ‘convert’ people to veganism, they appear to have gone about it the wrong way.

Gruesome footage doesn’t get people to change their minds or create a paradigm shift. If it did, then the government wouldn’t have resorted to plain paper packaging for cigarettes after the ‘shocking’ photos, and we would be seeing ‘shocking’ images on TV in an attempt to improve the road toll. No alternatives in mind

Despite Mr Delforce knowing that the media would be talking to him regarding the sites, and his intentions, he never bothered to present an alternative to animal agriculture.

Way back in August 2013, in the article about stopping live export, I wrote that the growing of industrial hemp could be an alternative use for the land that they graze cattle on.

If Aussie Farms has the network of supporters that Mr Delforce claims, then I am sure there would have been at least one person who would have been able to do some research into alternative uses for farm land.

We need to be mindful that as it is ‘us’ who are instigating the change, ‘we’ need to be able to present alternatives. Not stomping our feet on the ground like a child throwing a tantrum.

Maybe they could contact Harold Brown at Farm Kind and have a chat to him before they talk to the media again.

Saying anything that sounds good

Speaking of talking to the media, it appears that Mr Delforce has gone to the 'Mark Pearson School of Media Communication', as he is starting to make totally irrelevant comments - as Mr Pearson did before him.

I am sure we all remember Mark Pearson’s statement that live export would be shut down once more slaughterhouses are built in Australia, and that it was a relatively simple thing to do, then a few months later taking part in a march to end slaughterhouses.

Mr Delforce seems to have Australia confused with the US as he believes that Australian farmers could possibly shoot and kill ‘activists’ that are trying to get footage. I am pretty sure that most states and territories have laws regarding when a firearm can and cannot be used. I am also sure that ‘trespass’ doesn’t count as one of those ‘reasons’.

Then again, I guess that is his way of painting a picture of these ‘activists’ being innocent and the ‘victim’ if something does go wrong and they get hurt. Before we do that, it is worthwhile remembering that they are trespassing on private property, and that is against the law.

The way to make change

When it comes to promoting veganism and not using other animals, the best way to do it is to have an actual discussion with a person, not by bombarding them with shocking images.

Unfortunately for veganism and the animal advocacy ‘movement’, every time that he posts some sort of gruesome image on the Aussie Farms website, with some outlandish claim attached to it he is pushing meaningful discussion further and further away. And making all of us look like raving lunatics that are too lazy to do our own research.

I honestly hope that once Mr Delforce grows up, and decides he wants to make a meaningful contribution to discussions on animal rights that those bridges haven’t been burnt.

In the meantime, the rest of us will be trying to repair the damage that he has and is continuing to do.

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READER COMMENTS

wtf
17/07/2014 6:57:49 AM

Cameron I thank u for your level headed approach to this issue. Many farms are only suited to livestock prodn (eg rocks, soil type), for that reason hemp may not suit (however, medical may?). My suggestion is that if u would like to see less animals killed for meat production, that alternative enterprises be encouraged. Funny enough, to a certain degree wool is one where animals live longer lives, typically 5-6 years where as in meat systems 6-12 months. Many producers would welcome the option of diversifying from traditional meat prodn, perhaps someone has that option? eg (medical marijuana)
pol
21/07/2014 9:41:05 AM

Cameron, I am confused. Are you really suggesting, as you say, that 'There are no scientific reports of the sentience of other animals, evidence of their desire to live or anything for that matter that would lead the viewer/reader to believe that they are anything else than property.' Do you believe animals are only property and feel no pain or fear or am I misreading your text?
Cameron
21/07/2014 7:18:09 PM

pol, You did misread it. What I am saying is that there is nothing on the Aussie Farms sites to show the viewer that the animals in question are sentient, etc, and shouldn't be treated as property.

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