Let me introduce myself.
I am a primary producer. For my entire life I have been involved in primary production. I would like to think that this qualifies me as a professional in my trade. So what does my trade involve? Well firstly, I produce livestock. This makes me a whole host of things. The three most important and relevant of these qualifications are thus:
Firstly, that I am a responsible carer of animals. I do this to the best of my abilities. My job, therefore, is to ensure I produce healthy, happy and well-cared for livestock, and that in the process; these animals have the best life afforded to them as possible. So, I guess that makes me an animal liberationist. If I was not then I would go broke.
Secondly, I am responsible to maintain land, be that farmland or rangeland. (I have and will continue to work in both) My job here is to maintain that land to the best of my ability. I do this for three reasons.
A. For the environment.
B. Because good land management has a positive affect on the quality and welfare of my livestock.
C. And finally so that I do not go broke.
So therefore I also regard myself as an environmentalist.
Thirdly, I am a father and loving husband. I have a responsibility to provide for my family to the best of my ability, and for the sake of their and my well-being. And also so we do not go broke.
I do these things because I love my land, my animals and my family. To continue to achieve all of this, I must rely on markets and commonsense work practices that I and others around me deem fit for me to operate with. Do I care about live export and other animal welfare and environmental issues? Of course I do! However, if someone else is making these decisions for me then my opinions are irrelevant.
Do I care what happens to my livestock once they leave my property? Of course I bloody well do! And I would like to think that the people that I have trusted to take them on, for whatever reason that may be, are professional, know their responsibilities and will carry on the work that I have begun, with the same enthusiasm as I have. In most circumstances I have found this to be the case.
I, as did my whole family, saw the TV footage, and totally agree that it was not acceptable in any way, shape or form. However, we must work diligently to weed out these few, very rotten eggs from what is otherwise a relatively healthy and ever improving basket. Yes we should take action, but it must be controlled, and take into consideration all aspects of the industry. We must be proud of the fact we are world leaders in animal welfare reform. A point that is constantly overlooked in this debate. Live export will continue the world over, consumers of the world demand and require this, but not necessarily with the same care and effort to reform that Australia is attempting to achieve. Any animal be they human or otherwise must be afforded this right. We, as Australians, are, or at least were, and in many instances still are, showing the way. Decisions should be based on fact and this is a fact.
As a producer, what does concern me is when people, be they Governments, activists, do-gooders, marketers, journalists, or even the general public, start making ill-informed, biased, one-sided decisions that result in the mistreatment of my, or anyone else’s animals.
If these decisions are detrimental to the degradation of lands, mine or anyone else’s livestock, or the livelihood and welfare of mine or anyone else’s family, be that here, or in any country, then those people will and should be held accountable for their actions.
So, make your “well-informed decisions”, go to your rallies, vote for your politicians. This is a democracy. But be warned, the decisions you make have consequences. And I plead with you, think before you act, as these consequences may be detrimental to what it is you are trying to achieve, they may be lasting, and not only will you have to live with them, you will also have to pay. I ask this of all of you for the sake of the country, the people who maintain care for and love this country, and the ultimate welfare of the animals you are trying to protect, and that we love so much.
Boorabbin Fine Wool Merino Stud
Po Box 257,