June 21, 2011 | Iain Nicholson

An answer to Alistair

Dear Alistair,

I thank you for your comments to my letter, G’day Australia.You are obviously also passionate, as am I, on this issue. While I do not wish to end up in a personal slanging match with you, you have also raised some very relevant points that I may or may not agree with, but must also be addressed.

Yes, I do produce animals as you put it so nicely “to kill and eat their bodies”. I like to eat meat. So does the overriding population of the world like to eat meat. So yes, I do this to survive, financialy, and to suit my needs as a human being. My decision, my right.

A liberationalist?

I would like to think my views as a person, just like yourself, but also as a professional primary producer, will bear some weight in helping solve some of the issues with which we have been confronted with by the industry, the Australian Government and the media, in this case, “Four Corners”. I hope I can do so with some professionalism and expertise.

The Government is being held to ransom by independent groups who are actually calling the shots and hold the balance of power. Publically funded media outlets such as Four Corners should be for all Australians and not show only one sided views of a topic.

I personally have abandoned, in some cases to my detriment, the production of primarily, meat producing animals to concentrate on a relatively cleaner and renewable resource that is wool. You forgot to attack that one by the way.

An environmentalist?

Good point. People have always cleared lands to produce the clothing, vegetable, cereal crops and housing that you do consume.

I do not think we can all just move back into the jungles, even if we would like to!

My Government also prevents me from further clearing my lands, and I ensure that each and every year I allocate some of my time and resources into creating and saving the environment, and wildlife and to protect these ,as does the majority of producers.

We have some great leaders, particaly in the younger generation, in this industry that are trying to achieve this.

The world as it is, is expanding at an ever increasing, alarming, and I hope, not, an imploding rate. People must eat. We are also animals and ruminants that also produce emissions, not just from our own backsides and agriculture, but from a whole range of consumerist devices. While some things are not” ideal” in yours or my ideologies, many of these are required by the people of the world.

People also need water with which to bathe, drink and to produce the resources which you also consume. That is why this is a shared, monitored and policed resource.


I would like to think that not one of my livestock ends up in a slaughter-house, but this will never be the case. I am also a realist! I have witnessed the progress that the livestock export industry of Australia has introduced and also agree, it is far from perfect, but the fact is, it is making progress! And I promise you, I have not just gained my information from watching a one-sided view on national television. I have been in this industry and grown up with it my whole life.

The graziers (of which I am one), and meat-workers, are and have been driven out of this industry by the cheap option of foreign processing. As a child, I was driven through a unionist picket line at an abattoir, with my family in the Northern Territory and witnessed the resulting demise and reconstruction of the northern cattle industry that has never fully recovered. That is why we have limited slaughtering facilities in this country. Not because of live export! Live export was put in place as a response to help solve this problem. Just as it was put in place to deal with the demise that resulted from the beaurocratic involvement and bungling that destroyed the Australian Wool Industry. Due to this, as an apprentice in my trade, I had to stand in a puddle of blood while I shot and disposed of the carcasses of sheep. I do not wish to wake up and have to do this again!

We must also take into account the results of bio-security of our borders. I personally had to sit in a helicopter in Central Australia, with a rifle and shoot cattle, due to the Governments disease eradication campaigns that were BTEC. That work should not have been in vain. I have witnessed first -hand the destruction of the animals surrounding my wife’s family farm in England caused by disease, and yes, once again, I was there. I also know and have worked with, many affected people in all of these instances, so I do know what I am talking about.

Cheap option of foreign processing?

Finally, I ask you. Where do you think that all of our resources like gas, coal, and minerals are heading? People in third world countries are dying while they process these resources in under policed societies so that we can profit and buy our processed products back at a cheaper rate. This also has an effect on animals, the environment and the people of the world, not just the workers of Australia. But does the Australian Government ban this? No!

While I appreciate your comments and endeavour, I still do not see you as an enemy. But please Alistair do not bury your head in the sand as some may end up your nose!

Posted by Iain Nicholson at 9:08 pm | Comments (3) |

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) |