PETA Slams Farmers: If You Can't Feed Them Don't Breed Them
"That is heartless. Utterly heartless."
Animal activists have caused backlash by appearing to blame drought-stricken farmers for being unable to feed their livestock.
As Australia's drought drags on, farmers across the country are forced to face the possibility that they may need to slaughter their own livestock, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has blamed farmers for the awful realities brought on by a lack of rain.
"If you can't feed, them, don't breed them," said PETA, offering the "easy solution" for farmers to simply change their industry.
"From the farmers’ perspective, the problem is not that they have to kill animals -- since they were going to do that anyway -- but that they’re not getting paid to do so," it said, in an article published Tuesday.
It came off the back of a Sunday Telegraph front-page report, which spoke of the heartbreak faced by a NSW farmer as he prepared to shoot all 1200 of his starving sheep and bury them in a mass grave.
"We don't have any choice but to shoot them," said farmer Les Jones to the publication. "We tried our utmost to keep them alive, but how can we?"
Speaking on Studio 10 this morning, columnist Joe Hildebrand called PETA a bunch of "disgraceful little ratbags" and a "disgraceful organisation" for the attack on farmers, who have some of the highest rates of mental health issues and suicide in the country.
"The idea that you would use this moment, where people are facing the loss of everything they hold dear, and use that to have a go at them, is just the lowest, lowest, lowest act," he said.
"PETA is a disgraceful organisation. This is a horrible thing to do. Farmers are killing themselves because they're so depressed, because they're struggling to make ends meet," he continued.
"That is heartless. Utterly heartless," agreed host Angela Bishop.
Host Denise Drysdale disagreed with her co-hosts sentiments that PETA is an awful organisation, arguing that they have done "wonderful things" to prevent animal cruelty in Australia.
When approached by ten daily for comment on the backlash, PETA spokesperson Emma Hurst simply repeated comments from the original article.
The organisation's comments come after the NSW Government granted $500 million in emergency relief funding for farmers, in addition to cutting fees and waiving subsidies to the tune of another $500 million.
All up, $1 billion in drought relief was promised.
The relief has been backdated to the start of the year, to ensure farmers who made the decision to "destock" earlier in the year will still benefit.