June 20, 2011 | Iain Nicholson

A producer’s view of animal rights

G’day Australia,
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.
Iain Nicholson
Boorabbin Fine Wool Merino Stud
Po Box 257,
New Norcia.
WA. 6509.

Posted by Iain Nicholson at 1:35 am | Comments (16) |


  1. Thanks for your thoughts Mr Nicholson. I’d like to address some of your assumptions.
    _Animal_Liberation?_ Since you make animals breed so that you can kill them and eat their bodies you, be definition, are not interested in their wellbeing or interests. When you consider another as a production unit for profit, their ‘welfare’ is key to productivity, not an inherent value that you hold.
    _Environmentalist?_ The vast numbers of ruminant animals being created for animal agriculture means that in Australia and worldwide, as a human economic activity, it ranks in the top three contributors to climate change. It also involves a large amount of land clearing and reductions in biodiversity, land quality and impacts negatively on regional water cycles and use, so not a particularly environmentally friendly pursuit or conservative use of resources.
    _Compassion_ We have seen the “progress” that live export has made in destination countries over the last 18 years and it’s floored most Australians. Very few without vested interest (unlike yourself) seek to defend the “progress” and it has been soundly condemned nationally and internationally, including graziers and the meat worker industries that have been driven out of business by the cheap option of foreign processing.

    You are as much an animal liberationist as Japanese whaling is about research.

    Comment by Alistair Cornell — June 20, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  2. I too am a primary producer and proud of the job I do. Well said and well written. As for the comment posted by Alistair Cornell – most people like to eat meat and will continue to do so. As for the tired environmental comments why don’t you concentrate on the coal seam gas industry which will surely cripple farmers and ruin the environment all by itself.

    Comment by Rosemary Nankivell — June 20, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  3. A well written Article.. from the Heart

    The first response was predictable.. from an undoubted Vegetarian.. thus that comment should be ignored as it is totally irrelevant to the discussion of Live Exports.

    That Writer is guilty of a similar “crime” that the one he accuses you of… A ” Vested Interest”

    Comment by lauriesienna — June 20, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

  4. Certain animals have been farmed for human consumption from since animals were domesticated well before christianity became acceptable/practiced.
    Animals have also been traded/consumed and transported since that time.
    With the founding of the penal colony of New South Wales also came the sea transport of animals mainly from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,also South Africa.
    When humans have travelled by sea from country to country so also have animals. There is nothing new in transporting animals from country to country by sea. Before the advent of refigeration sea transportation of the animals was only possible on the hoof.
    There has however been continuing huge improvements in the welfare and hygienic methods of sea transport of these animals both alive and dead.
    While humans eat these domestic animals there will be demand for both live and dead animals for human consumption, this a fact of human life, there is room for both processes in the modern world.
    However, because of a certain few of the the human races propensity to take an unfair advantage of any trading relationship in order to maximise profit, governments should and must make laws to control and moderate these trading processes, not least the welfare of the animals traded.
    These laws must never be self regulated but must be strictly enforced by government appointed employees.
    If these rules are carried out and enforced, then there is no reason for curtailment of trading of animals from country to country in a humane proper manner.

    Comment by Jack Randles — June 21, 2011 @ 4:27 am

  5. Don’t you love the hypocracy of one Alistair Cornell.We have the do gooding bleeding hearts wanting to save the environment and other animal species on the planet,yet your are in denial of the suffering that occurs naturally outside human control.

    We constantly see wildlife film of lions and other meat eaters,eating wildebeast alive in a slow agonising death.Would you like to eaten from your genitalia upwards while still conscious?

    Farmers who have cows or sheep for meat are somehow evil monsters and these farm animals in 99.9% of killings are done by a stun bolt through the brain.Had the lions had their way,it would have been a slow agonising death,but that is natural and beautiful in the eyes of the ideal bubble wrapped generation.Total hypocracy from people who have become totally divorced from reality.

    We all die and something consumes us when we go.Many humans die an awful death as do millions of kangaroos during drought,which don’t get a mention.For the purist enviromentalists,it is all about their ideology and their ego.They want their own way.I call them the enviro-nazis who see all humans bar themselves,as being a blight on their precious planet.

    Comment by Ross — June 21, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  6. Indeed “fathers and loving husbands” can be brutes. In fact the live export industry is full of them. This industry can rip out the ovaries of a heifer to fatten it for the export market. No painkillers required for dumb animals eh? As the duplicitous Julian McGauran said of sheep for live export: “Well really, they are only sheep.”

    Seven investigations into five countries arrived at the same conclusion – unspeakable torture of Australia’s livestock while growers, MLA, LiveCorp and successive governments bleated about the superb animal welfare projects in Asia and the Middle East. Oh ye hypocrites!

    A horrified Princess Alia of Jordan shut down a Jordanian abattoir that was torturing Australian livestock and had the surrounding meat market razed to the ground after receiving intelligence from Lyn White of Animals Australia. Yet the industry and successive governments were unaware of the cruelty? Give us a break.

    2.5 million animals overboard since the 80s while a billion people a year are malnourished. Fudging of figures in this cruel industry is on the public record. Sheep and cattle are being illegally hit on the heads with electric prods at Australian wharves. The list of cruelty inflicted on these hapless animals is endless and that is before they leave these shores to an abominable fate.

    The “purist environmentalist and enviro-nazis, says the author eh?” That says a lot about the sick members of this sadistic industry when they resort to using Godwin’s law to justify inflicting cruelty on non-humans. Creepy.

    Once again, Australia is an international disgrace. The live export industry is an impediment to Australia’s moral progress. Hang your heads in shame as you scramble to regroup to send your defenceless product to the primordial swamps the barbarians in Asia and the Middle East call abattoirs.

    “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” ~St. Francis of Assisi

    Comment by Dryblower — June 27, 2011 @ 2:45 am

  7. Dear Dryblower,

    “Rip out the ovaries of a heifer to fatten it for the export market” In Australia? Please where DO you get your information from? I know many pastoralists and this is complete twaddle!

    The problem is that those whom are not in the livestock producing industry do not seem to know what they are talking about. Farmers seem to have a bad reputation when they do not deserve it,they work hard to make ends meet and look after their animals to the best of their ability. And their ability is enormous!

    Australia is trying and has been trying to reform Animal Welfare in another country. Do we see this happening with the processing of our mining exports, which are exported to be processed in other countries in absolutely foul conditions, paying no heed whatsoever to human welfare. Don’t you think this is hypocritical? Why wouldn’t Australia enquire into this? Because it happens in another country and we do not have juristriction there, or, and I dont mean to be cynical, could it be that this processing of our minerals make Austrlai millions?

    However the Export industry is trying and succeeding to do this in Indonesia.

    No one thinks or suggests that their work is done, but it is progressing.

    Do you not understand that the banning of Live Export has created its own Animal Welfare disaster? Indonesia is now importing from Java where animals have up to ten days on a truck with no food and water. Is this OK because they are not Australian cattle? Isn’t that duplicitious? And what about the thousands of cattle in our own country who were supposed to be on those last boats? what about all the other Bos Indicus cattle in the North that now have no market, what do you think is going to happen to them? Do you think the rangelands can support infinate numbers of cattle? Pastoralists use something called Land Management, it works out carrying capacity of their land to ensure that their stock have enough food. Land management relies on being able to SELL their stock.
    Do you know that there is no real demand for Bos Indicus cattle on the domestic market? Bos Taurus is the type of meat that the domestic market prefers. Do you know because the abbatoirs were shut down by the unionists that there are not enough process the meat?

    The whole debacle has been a knee jerk reaction to a media programme, no one has even checked the footage to see if it was manipulated. I’m not saying it was, but there seems to have been a total lack of proper planning, investigation and thought, and due to this many are suffering.

    Comment by Concerned. — June 27, 2011 @ 4:53 am

  8. “Dryblower”:- I understand you dryblower to mean when you refer, in very emotional terms, to the: “ripping out of heifer ovaries”. Is the (present?or past) practice on certain northern Australian cattle stations to the surgical method of de-sexing maiden cows by a incision in the cows flank to enable a type of female sterilisation familiarly known as spaying. This was a husbandry practice used to control the breeding programme on open range type farming. One could quite honestly say this was an animal welfare practice to prevent uncontrolled breeding.
    “Comment by Concerned” One would like to think that Australia would be very much concerned to what happens to its live animal exports and that they would be treated in a humane manner by their buyer. One cannot surely compare the treatment of a lump of coal or iron ore to a living animal?
    There is no difference in the protein value of the flesh of Bos Taurus as compared to Bos Indicus. Bos Taurus is said to be of more value to the feedlotter than is Bos Indicus, relative to weight gain per feed intake, both species however have their good and bad points.
    Both should be treated humanely from birth to death and, I believe that the majority of Australian farmers do treat their animals humanely and expect overseas buyers to act in a similar manner.

    Comment by Jack — June 27, 2011 @ 6:02 am

  9. Jack, obviously I didn’t make my point well, I’m talking about the PEOPLE processing our minerals and the fact that the OHS laws there are almost non existant, not the mineral itself.
    As for the spaying you mention, I will have to investigate that one, and will come back and reply.

    Comment by Concerned — June 27, 2011 @ 7:17 am

  10. @ Concerned: “Rip out the ovaries of a heifer to fatten it for the export market” In Australia? Please where DO you get your information from? I know many pastoralists and this is complete twaddle.”

    My dear Concerned. Before you set up a strawman’s argument, cover your tracks by substantiating the swill you perpetuate with evidence. If one wants to speak about the minerals industry, one debates it on the appropriate forum. We are not talking about lumps of iron ore or coal.

    This thread is about live, sentient non-humans that are entitled to a merciful life and a merciful death particularly when they fill the bellies of narcissistic homo-sapiens, sufficiently deluded in believing they are the superior species. Yeah well just look at the state of the planet and you will see how superior we homo-saps are.

    “Australia is trying and has been trying to reform Animal Welfare in another country.” Bulls**t. The industry is corrupt and you are either ignorant or deceitful.

    Animal welfare reforms? Oh you must mean the Mark I restraining boxes of gross torture, witnessed in Indonesia? Compliments of the heinous MLA? The “animal welfare” measures of which the industry boasts and where the taxpayer has coughed up big time in animal welfare research but denied the results unless MLA approves the results for publication. Simply put, researchers are gagged by MLA.

    So you know lots of pastoralists, Concerned. Bully for you. I come from pastoral and mining country. Please refrain from selling ice to an eskimo.

    1: Spaying Flank Method – Australia:

    Employ a rouseabout, replete with large shears. Incarcerate beast in steel crush. Slash open bellowing beast’s flanks, hack out ovaries and send beast packing. This method becoming obsolete due to the mortalities, the numbers obscured from the public gaze.

    2. Willis Drop Method – Australia:

    Incarerate beast. Take large shears and enter beast’s back end. Fumble around until ovaries are located, hack off ovaries and let ovaries drop into bellowing beast’s abdominal cavity. Send beast packing. Mortality numbers not on the public record.

    You will find the gruesome details on the Cattle Council of Australia’s website. I have no desire to waste my valuable time, chasing up this information for duckshovers who cover for sadists.

    Thank you Jack for inferring that I am emotional. I wear my emotion with pride. Being emotional over defenceless and brutalised animals is preferable to the livestock industry that goes to great lengths to obscure the horrendous practices of its callous, blood-thirsty greed merchants. Cruelty is their name. Cruelty is their trade and the Australian community is outraged. You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

    Comment by Dryblower — June 27, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  11. Look fellas’ Give me some comments that are current and relative and I will happily respond.

    If you are just going to give me drivvle then it will only cause to highlight your ignorance on this matter.

    Thanks to those who are constructive on this debate, whether you agree or not.

    Iain Nicholson

    Comment by Iain Nicholson — June 27, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  12. In this day and age, especially, I understand the need to be “gender neutral”. Something that was put in place to raise females to the same level and respect as all.This is very important and I appologise to the GREAT women of this world and to anyone who takes my words out of context.

    Great to see so much passion on this and other topics out there, from both sides.

    “With many women I doubt whether there may be any more effectual way of touching their hearts than ill-using them and then confessing it. If you wish to get the sweetest fragrance from the herb at your feet, tread on it and bruise it”
    ‘Miss Mackenzie’ Anthony Trollope, English novelist.

    This was not my intention.


    Comment by Iain Nicholson — June 28, 2011 @ 3:13 am

  13. Dryblower like all idealists would like to see all pain and suffering disappear from the planet but alas even for us humans at the top of the food chain,it is not possible.

    If there was no pain or suffering Dryblower,there would be no reason for us to get out of bed and do anything of consequence.Pain is the reason for thought and action.Pleasure is the result of due diligence and hard work,with the exception of Central Banksters.

    So which is a better life for your oppressed sheep? On the farm with lots of food or in the wild dying of starvation or death by a hungry predator? I was born on a farm and found the killing of farm animals very confronting.

    Perhaps we all need to kill to survive like Bear Grills and then know how precious life really is.My father used to kill chickens and turkeys for us to live.Given a survival situation,would you give up your life for a chicken or just go to the Coles Super market and pretend it didn’t really happen?

    Comment by Ross — June 28, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  14. Mutilate human bad. Mutilate critter good – very good. Make evil men rich.

    Comment by Dryblower — July 6, 2011 @ 1:54 am

  15. Having spent a number of years working in the Kimberley district of Western Australia in the mid/late 1950’s to mid 1960’s &, having some small, perhaps now outdated, knowledge of the workings of the cattle stations and the free range cattle pastured thereon. I still believe the vast majority of the persons employed on these stations treated these semi-wild cattle humanely & in a responsible manner, after all they were their livelyhood. Mutilate, Never! The only mutilations experienced were those executed by wild dogs and unforseen accidents due to the very rough nature of the terrain and indeed, nature herself, in the far north of Australia, an extremely hard and unforgiving task master/mistress.

    Comment by Jack — July 6, 2011 @ 4:07 am

  16. Dear Jack – that was then and this is now. You want to see mutilations in the Kimberleys? Well transport yourself into the 21st century.

    Comment by Dryblower — July 8, 2011 @ 8:52 am

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