Friday, 7 June 2013

Family farmers fight back

 Farmers on a daily basis are the providers of welfare for the animals under their care. Their ability to provide this care and provide food for people worldwide is under constant scrutiny of radical animal rights activists with unrealistic expectations, ignorant of animal production systems and a worldview that gives animals human emotion and reasoning.

This last week there was a significant skirmish between the farming community and Animals Australia (AA) and the supermarket giant, Coles. Farmers rightly took umbrage at Coles aligning itself with AA by contributing funding for this animals rights group that has a record of attacking family farmers.

Farmers are notorious for not working together not only between the different agricultural sectors but even within. This lack of unity has often made the farming community easy pickings by those who wish to attack them. This last week has been a lesson of what can be achieved when the farming community pulls together. It also clearly demonstrates the power of social media. It was not only those directly under attack in AA's latest campaign, the pork and poultry industries, but farmers right across all farming production system rose up and said enough is enough.

Below is a snapshot of the last week from four different sources.

Animals Australia has waged open and unrelenting campaigns against Australia’s agricultural sector as well as the culture and history of our rural communities.
Currently 10 of the 16 campaigns that Animals Australia are engaged in are directly aimed at Rural Australia. From the banning of culls and controls of feral animals such as foxes, cats and pigs, to the use of kangaroos for meat and hide, the use of sheep for wool, right through to their greatest conquest to date, Live Export.

So what’s the big deal? Why do farmers cry ‘wolf’ every time Animals Australia appears on 4 corners?

Most farmers would agree that Animals Australia gets up their nose for two big, undeniable reasons…

Firstly, they are a lobby group. All the funds raised by animals Australia are poured directly back into more marketing, advertising and political lobbying. Animals Australia DO NOT have a single animal shelter or refuge. They DO NOT promote education within our community or abroad, instead their funds are utilised to carry out ‘undercover’ investigations and to spread propaganda through the community. Animals Australia make no effort to work with industries or communities in advocating better animal welfare practices instead they advocate for blanket bans and legislation changes directly to government, whilst louering the wider community along with them.

Secondly, their vegetarian/vegan agenda. Farmers, like all Australians, believe in a person’s right to choose vegetarianism, but they are trying to fight a battle against a group that wants Australian’s to lose their right to CHOOSE to be omnivorous. Animals Australia is admittedly one of the biggest proponents of veganism in this country. They have their own vegetarian website that asks all of us to ‘Pledge to go Veg’ and this is where the real agenda behind the vendetta becomes blaringly obvious. Animals Australia don’t lobby for change in agriculture because they aim for better welfare, they do it because their long term goal is to force the hand of government to phase out animal farming for the uses of meat, dairy and bi-products. They are every bit the wolf that farmers see them for, despite wearing grannies nightgown.
Coles retreats at bush boycott     by: SUE NEALES, Rural reporter  From: The Australian 
COLES is expected today to deliver farmers their first victory in their battle with the supermarket giants, pulling from sale shopping bags supporting Animals Australia.   

Angry beef and fat lamb producers yesterday called for a mass boycott of Coles supermarkets because of their partnership with the animal rights group, saying the retail giant was deeply "anti-farming". 
Sheep producers who supply Coles with thousands of lambs a year yesterday announced a blackban on sales to the chain. The moves follow outrage within farming circles at the decision to sell the Animals Australia bags at 500 of its stores this month.
Queensland cattleman Stuart Ogg said he was appalled at Coles's misjudgment and would make sure none of his Brahman-cross cattle ended up as prime beef steaks in its stores.  "Coles always seem to be looking for a point of difference or a cheap publicity stunt and don't care who they hurt in the process," the Carnarvon Gorge grazier said. "We have a very solid and sustainable industry; Coles siding with Animals Australia is a slap in the face for industry -- it's like them saying they don't think we are producing our meat properly."
One of NSW's biggest prime-lamb producers, Andrew Freshwater, announced he would be halting the supply of thousands of lambs a year to Coles until it reversed its stance.
Mr Freshwater said five other suppliers -- all the major producers in the eastern states -- were backing his stance, while other farmers intended to stop buying fertiliser and insurance from Wesfarmers. "I've had a gutful; (it's time) to make Coles sit up and take notice," he said.
NFF chief executive Matt Linnegar said Coles could not have it both ways -- it could not claim to be the best friend of farmers and a strong supporter of homegrown produce while supporting Animals Australia and its extremist anti-farming campaigns.

The truth about Australian animal welfare by Fiona Lake
This a good article that answers well the reaction of Lyn White of AA after Coles were forced to back down . Fiona has her blog article copyright protected which means that it can't be copied and pasted to here. I encourage you to follow the link and read Fiona's article.

If farmers fold  by Glenda Grey


  1. Excellent outcome after a concerted effort by many individuals and the Farmers Federation. I ill not shop at Coles again, as I don't trust them to have Australian producers at heart.

  2. On the Ask An Aussie Farmer facebook page there is apost for pig farmers to answer these two questions: "What is the difference between sow stalls and farrowing crates? Why did farmers start using sow stalls and why do they use farrowing crates?"
    Check out the answers given by Glenda Grey.

    "You asked what is the difference between Sow stalls and Farrowing crates... Sadly, the Animal Activists tend to weave the two in together whenever they want to manipulate a scenario.
    Sow stalls and farrowing crates are two different things.
    It is the sow stalls that are being phased out voluntarily by the farmers, but of course the ill-informed are calling for the banning of farrowing crates as well, also citing them as being cruel.. To a pork producer that is like calling for the banning of hospital beds for women to give birth.
    Sow stalls are used for dry sows only, that is sow that are not lactating or feeding piglets, but who have been mated and are pregnant but not ready to farrow.
    They have the best of food and water supplied in each stall and usually a flooring system that allows the dung to fall through and keep them clean. It is these stalls that are bring phased out, in favour of group housing."

    "Some sows are great little mothers and can get away with having their pigs in a pile of grass under a tree and they can all survive, but they are the minority. Nature seems to play a very big part in keeping them culled to a reasonable level. If they were all great mums and they all had a couple of litters a year that all survived then holey hell we would be over run..
    The sows get very big very fast and they will just flop down or roll over and squash half of their litter, and some will snap at them, injure them and even eat them as soon as they are born. The piglets huddle close to the sows for warmth and the sow rolls over and ignore their screams.
    We had fully free range pigs to begin with, and it was a nightmare.. Ok for small niche operations where the love of the challenge and a second job keeps the piggery going ..but very heartbreaking on a commercial basis. The farrowing units are designed with the health and safety needs of the piglets in mind and the sow gets her fair share of extra attention and better feed as well, and is safe from the threats of other pigs for about 4-5 weeks depending upon the operation of the piggery. Yes, they can lay down and stand up but not turn around but if they could turn around then they would just squash all of the piglets.. The crates have to be of a certain size, length and width for them to protect the piglets effectively."

    Go to the link for much more

  3. What a pity not everyone will get to see this. I am going to put the link to Ask An Aussie Farmer on my facebook page. I have been sending the Evacuation Grounds link to people as well so hope they have been checking.

    I also discovered Farmers Way of Life from the right hand column on here which is great as well.

    Our kind are at a disadvantage as most of us are busy working at something worthwhile while the likes of AA/ PETA etc. seem to consist of people who have nothing more to do than make trouble for our farmers.

  4. Cattle Council and Sheepmeats Council have made statements about Coles lack of judgement in aligning with Animals Australia. Read more at - Coles cops more criticism

    "“How can an organisation like Coles, which has 35 per cent of the retail beef market in Australia, partner with an organisation that encourages people to not eat meat at all?” Mr Matz said.
    “At the end of the day, Animals Australia is an activist group and lobby group and we actually invest in animal welfare.
    “If Coles were serious about animal welfare they’d invest with us and not Animals Australia because they only invest in campaigns.”

    “We have a challenge as a community and we need to work through the values we have as a community.
    “But sometimes I despair that we can’t have a sensible debate on these types of issues.
    “We have a wonderful farming industry in Australia and I hate to see activists denigrate this industry, for the sake of what I’d regard as often minority value opinions and I’d really counsel them very carefully about this.”

    1. I think that the comments by Ron Cullen in particular are very strong but they do need to get to the public.
      The only way to counter voiciferous and cashed up lobby groups like AA, WWF, GetUp and the Unions is to collect the funds and the grit to attack them head on, wherever they turn up. Which very often, is in the electronic media, including ABC talk back radio. Well, that's my humble opinion :-(

      Cheers al

  5. Two more good articles about Coles ill-advised decision to associate with Animals Australia.
    When big business and farmers clash - To the question of why Coles were forced to back track the author writes,
    "Why? Because of sheer people power. Social media, traditional media, word of mouth. It all combined to hurt the reputation of Coles. Have a look through the #agchatoz hashtag on Twitter and you’ll find the general sentiment among those directly impacted. The fact that Coles could say one thing and do another really hurt consumers. The quick and effective response of National Farmers Federation and other groups definitely helped too. Where once the rural community was overwhelmed by social media (the live exports debate is one such time), on this occasion, it won the game."

    Down down goes Coles' reputation is an opinion article by David Leyonhjelm published at Rural Press.
    " could be either. Coles is managed by people from the UK, where romantic and unrealistic views about where food comes from are more common than here.
    Thus the company has adopted a series of polices, many lifted from the UK supermarket Tesco, imposing various conditions on farmer suppliers. Those conditions are consistent with Animals Australia’s stance on what it calls factory farming.
    Like the Fabian socialists, Animals Australia takes an incremental approach to achieving its aims. While the current focus is on factory farming and animal welfare, its ultimate goal is to end all use of animals by humans. That includes meat consumption, horse racing, leather and keeping animals as pets."

    "Coles is undoubtedly ignorant. What it knows about is retailing, not farming, yet the decision makers in the company have clearly subscribed to the myth that current agriculture practices are unsustainable.
    But none of this answers the question of whether they are also promoting the agenda of Animals Australia and other fringe groups.
    Based on commercial grounds, ignorance seems more likely. Coles claims that it seeks to reduce the cost of food to consumers, yet its actions belie its words. Preventing farmer suppliers from using technology to lower their costs of production is the direct opposite of what it ought to be doing."


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