1. PETA’s footage, released last night, shows sheep-shearers punching sheep and kicking them in the face.
2. PETA claims the footage was taken in sheds in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.
3. At one point, the sheep are violently slammed onto a wooden floor, and and workers are seen stamping on their heads and necks when they panic.
4. PETA said investigators had witnessed abuses in nearly every shed they visited between October 2013 and February this year.
5. It makes for utterly horrific viewing.
PETA Australia’s campaign co-ordinator, Claire Fryer, will not say exactly where the footage was filmed. She said it would threaten the safety of the organisation’s undercover operatives.
6. Wool Producers Australia president Geoff Fisken said the footage was “unacceptable”:
We’re sure it doesn’t portray the 99.9% majority of wool shearers, and those shearers would be appalled by it as well. Woolgrowers condemn this treatment of animals; we’re not in the business of treating animals like that and nor are shearers.
7. The RSPCA has launched an investigation into the allegations for potential breaches of state animal-welfare laws. A spokeswoman said:
Shearing is stressful for sheep and it should be carried out by trained and competent workers.
8. However, Australian agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce has questioned the footage. According to Yahoo News, he said:
One of the questions I ask is with the up-close shot of the man hitting the sheep, which is obviously exceptional and cruel and in many instances would be immediate dismissal. Where exactly was the camera?