The Editor
Toorak Times

Dear Editor:

It’s no surprise that musician Jona Weinhofen's campaign against the wool industry has ruffled some feathers. But we should take Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s odd, anti-PETA rant with a grain of salt. After all, agriculture ministers are rarely in favour of change. On the contrary, they often stand in the way of progress by defending archaic practices that are quite simply out of touch with community values.

Instead of shooting the messenger, Minister Joyce could have used this opportunity to voice his opposition to the abuse of sheep that is so pervasive in the wool industry. PETA US's exposé of the shearing industry in the US and Australia revealed that shearers, working against the clock, beat, kick, throw and mutilate terrified sheep. Because the shearers work so quickly, many sheep are severely cut. When this happens, workers use a needle and thread to try to sew shut the most gaping wounds – without providing any pain relief whatsoever. These abuses are not the acts of a few "bad apples": Rather, the investigators saw cruelty in every one of the 19 Australian sheds they visited, documenting that 70 workers for nine shearing contractors abused sheep in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

The solution is not to dodge the issue, as Minister Joyce did at his press conference, but to stop buying wool coats, sweaters and other garments. As Jona says, there are plenty of cruelty-free, non-wool options available.


Jason Baker
Director of Campaigns
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Australia
PO Box 20308
World Square
Sydney, NSW, 2002.
(08) 8556-5828