Woolly Thinking

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and I came across a picture of an attractive young lady wearing not a stitch of clothing and emblazoned across the top of the picture were the words “I’d rather go naked than wear wool.”

I studied the photo carefully but only to check the authenticity of her claim of course.So far it does seem she was completely naked but I am nothing if not methodical about these things so I intend to allocate myself a few more hours of research just to be sure.

Now her name is Alicia Silverstone and up until now I have treasured my ignorance about her, or any celebrity for that matter but she is apparently a very good actress.If I wanted advice on acting I would do well to listen to Alicia, but being a good actress means only that you are a good actress, it shows nothing of your intellect or thinking ability so forgive me if I look to other sources for moral guidance.

Normally I wouldn’t dignify an obviously stupid, deliberately misleading, blatantly uninformed comment like “rather naked than wool” with a response, however, having been involved in the farming industry for most of my life and fifteen years shearing the sheep that provides us with a truly remarkable fibre, I thought I might share my perspective on the subject.

Firstly, in the interests of fairness, I am all for improvements in how we treat animals.No normal sensible person likes to see an animal in pain or unnecessary distress and I am fully in favour of there being some sort of watchdog to keep us all honest.

Farmers would do well to remember that no one has to buy their produce and if the marketplace asks for change, then either change what you do, get out of the game or accept that your product may be rendered unsellable. That goes not just for wool of course but all products and it’s not an opinion, it’s basic economics around supply and demand.

Secondly, also in the interests of fairness, I am all for improvements in how we treat humans and so I have some questions for our friends from SAFE and PETA who are against the farming of animals (because let’s be honest, this issue isn’t about wool or shearing but about animal rights).

1. Are you willing to broaden your campaigns from what seems to be an attack on western farming to all those in the developing world who farm? Surely, if you back your own principles and philosophy then they also apply to the farmer in a developing country who is farming a few pigs and a goat as a way to survive. Go and tell him to stop doing what he is doing. Or do you have not just a double standard but an ulterior motive?

2. Can you please stop the lion from hunting down the antelope and ripping its throat out which seems painful, grossly unfair on the antelope and savagely merciless? Or the bird from eating the worm? Or the cat from eating the mouse. Surely if you think animals have the same rights as humans, you must accept that humans have the same rights as animals and both humans and animals all use other species for their own purpose. Or do you once again have a double standard?

3. What makes “your philosophy” around farming and animal rights more moral or valid than mine? You are against farming animals. I, like nearly all of the human race since Adam was a cowboy, have no problem with the farming of animals. What makes you so right? If you are against the farming of animals then don’t farm them but don’t try to impose your personal beliefs onto others.

And lastly, the world will make up its mind on what it thinks should happen around these issues like it has always done but what it doesn’t need is the lies and manipulation that I see on these anti-farming campaigns.

The end does not always justify the means and we would all do well to remember that even well-intentioned lies remain lies and are told by liars.