No PETA, shearing sheep isn't cruel. NOT shearing? That is cruel.

Last week animal rights group PETA shared an image of a man holding a lamb covered in blood on their Facebook page.

The man was Jona Weinhofen, an Australian musician. The lamb was a stuffed toy, covered in fake blood. And the slogan below the image said: “Here’s the rest of your wool coat.”

It was violent. It was unnecessary. And it was also complete bullshit.

The ad.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is claiming that there is intense cruelty in shearing sheds across Australia.

And the bloody lamb shown above is just the start of their latest campaign to expose the wool industry, which they say “is infested with violence.” They are urging their Facebook followers to stop supporting Australian wool, claiming that “this is what most sheep used for wool look like after ‘shearing'”.

Bloodied, stiff and half-dead, they say. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

As a woman whose family has run sheep for over three generations, I am furious. Not because of their choice of image (which is in bad taste, but that’s not unusual). I am angry about the complete and utter absence of research that has gone into the central claims of their campaign.

So here are some facts for you PETA:

-The fake stuffed animal you are using to show what sheep look like after shearing is actually a lamb. Lambs aren’t shorn for wool.

– If you actually walk into a shearing shed in any part of Australia you will find people who have often been shearing for 20 years. They’re experienced. And they know that any blood on the wool will damage their price. They also know that if they cut a sheep badly their employer (the farmer) will not be happy.

– And unlike your irresponsible and damaging claim – most sheep that are freshly shorn look like this:

This is actual shearer Sean Harrison holding an actual sheep that is alive. Image via Facebook.

The most astonishing fact is that PETA probably doesn’t realise what happens to sheep if you don’t shear them.

If they want to show cruel, NOT shearing sheep is the epitome of cruel.

On my family’s farm, there have been sheep we’ve found in the scrub that have missed shearing for a year. These sheep are fly-blown because they’ve been carrying up to 20kgs of wool on their backs. The weight and the heat have combined to make the perfect habitat for maggots to eat into their flesh and slowly kill them.

This is not negligence – when you have over 1000 sheep it is possible that one will go missing on your property. And while you try to keep account of all animals, some can simply wander off – and the results can be heart-breaking.

But that’s beside the point. Because for years PETA have gone after the Australian wool industry without considering the facts. Shearing is a practical issue not just for the sheep, but also for the farmer, and the Australian economy.

PETA says that shearing and the wool industry is cruel. They claim that shearers mistreat the animals. That they are cruel. That they are unfair.

But they are wrong. What is cruel is their lack of research into what actually goes on in sheds. What is unfair is the injustice this is causing to Australian farmers, shearers and their families. And what is disgracefl is the way in which they are defaming one of Australia’s strongest industries in front of the whole to the world without looking at the facts.

So PETA, before you claim that shearing a sheep is cruel, take the time to find out about at the alternative. And before you claim that farming is unfair, take a look at your own actions.