Ahead of a landmark court hearing in Horsham – in which four shearers will be sentenced on 60 counts of cruelty to animals – PETA has placed a billboard in the town calling on people to report drug and animal abuse in shearing sheds.
The charges followed the release of a PETA US exposé which documented that Australian wool workers beat scared sheep in the face with electric clippers, punched them, and stamped on their heads and necks.
Balmoral Liberal Party delegate and wool producer Robert Lawrence has said that drug use is one of the “top three issues facing the wool industry” and that one shearer “[broke] 14 legs (of sheep) during two days’ shearing”.
His fellow delegates agreed and called for mandatory drug testing.
Human health is at risk, and animals can be injured or even killed when workers shear them under the influence of drugs. Shearers in Horsham and across the country can help sheep by bringing to light the dangerous behaviour which appears to be widespread throughout Australian sheds.
Following an investigation by Agriculture Victoria, the state’s director of public prosecutions filed charges against six men. One has already been fined and banned from shearing for two years after pleading guilty to four counts of cruelty, and another will face court in May on six counts. The comprehensive evidence included video footage of 235 incidents recorded in Victoria alone as well as more than 40 pages of formal legal complaints.