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Rick Powdrell says now is the time to support wool. He likes the Cavalier Bremworth campaign, and calls for push-back against PETA

Rick Powdrell says now is the time to support wool. He likes the Cavalier Bremworth campaign, and calls for push-back against PETA

By Rick Powdrell*

Is the so-called animal rights group PETA must be secretly working for big oil?

How else do you explain their demonisation of wool that’s gone right around the world?

PETA are nothing more than a bunch of radicals and they’re using a video of less than good shearing practice across the Tasman and in the United States, to call on retailers to stop selling wool.

If I was at Du Pont, I’d be tickled pink.

Unbelievably PETA is saying that wool, a natural, renewable and sustainable fibre, is animal abuse.

We shear because if we didn’t, sheep would suffer horribly from heat or fly-strike. Further proving these people have no grasp on reality, or common sense, they’re prepared to wear man-made fibres that are the product of long dead animals and plants.  It is damn sustainability and wear a barrel of oil.  I bet they drive Prius’ and demand action on climate change too

While Kiwi farmers may sigh in relief and say, thank goodness it’s not New Zealand, this demonisation of wool does affect us.

Let’s be clear that some of the images caught by these activists made me wince. If that was my shed then the gang would be booted off.  There is no place in farming for hotheads.

It also reminds us farmers that we need to keep an active eye with the next main shear.

It is also a reminder that smart phones can quickly capture and distribute images wide and far. 

That’s why we need to supervise what’s going on but in my experience, most shearers do give a damn about the animals they work with.

The fact you have the likes of PETA looking to attack the very things that makes wool unique and special, tells me we need more than to rely on the Campaign for Wool, good though it is, or the good efforts of our marketers. 

That said, Cavalier Bremworth deserves major plaudits for its incredibly creative ‘Wool.I.Am’ campaign.  We’re loving this at Federated Farmers as it shows how a truly great product like wool can enthuse.  Wool.I.Am tells me we’ve got to back ourselves to grow.

But does PETA not show us that we need to have some means to defend our product when the attack is on what happens inside our farmgates? When that attack is on why we farm?

Enter the Wool Levy Consultation Group.

Until you get something in the post, www.votewool.co.nz, details how to vote, what a wool levy will support and commonly asked questions too.

Farmers can use it to sound off or to ask questions.  I happen to know that Sandra Faulkner and her team have busted a gut to get to this stage so at least give them the benefit of the doubt. 

I don’t care how you vote by 10 October but promise me this, you will vote.

The papers for the Wool Producers Referendum will arrive mid-September and we are being asked to support a levy of between 2 and 5 cents for each kilogram of greasy or slipe wool at the first point of sale.  The funds raised will be used to fund industry good activities. To pass muster, a yes vote has to be by both number and weighted sheep numbers before the Minister for Primary Industries can enact things under the Commodities Levies Act. 

Federated Farmers will present all sides of the debate, but the final decision is rightfully left to you, the farmer.

I know the intent of the levy is to support and complement the work of others in the industry.

Most importantly, it is about increasing the returns we get from wool.

That’s why it is aimed at being a lean and mean farmer-led body.  It will contract in services as required and countering PETA, I guess, would qualify.

We need to show the world that Wool.I.Am and convince those now wearing oil that Wool.I.Am.

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Rick Powdrell is Federated Farmers new Meat & Fibre chairperson

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