PETA’s latest billboards campaign is advocating for sheep rights in various cities across the country, including Brisbane, Bundaberg, Mackay, Melbourne, Rockhampton, and Toowoomba. As meat-industry marketeers work hard to link lamb consumption to the Australia Day long weekend, PETA’s ads are calling on the public to speak up for much-abused sheep and ask everyone to take personal responsibility by adopting a vegan lifestyle.
The billboards, placed in busy locations and created by advertising agency The Community, depict a protesting flock of sheep carrying a banner reading, “Sheep Can’t Fight for Sheep Rights”.
Sheep in Australia are mistreated in many ways. Lambs raised for their flesh endure painful ear-notching, castration, and tail removal, and those exploited for their wool are also subjected to mulesing – an excruciating procedure which involves cutting swathes of skin and flesh from lambs’ buttocks, often without any pain relief. Meat & Livestock Australia acknowledges that merino sheep, used for their wool and flesh in Australia, have “an increased sensitivity to stress”, yet they are routinely forced to endure traumatic procedures and rough handling. PETA entities have released seven exposés of Australian wool industry facilities, and abuse was documented at each of the 40-plus farms and shearing sheds visited around the country. When wool production slows, sheep are slaughtered locally or forced onto cruel live-export ships to be killed in other countries, often in ways that are illegal in Australia.
People don’t like to be reminded that lambs are babies and that “roast” and “chops” are just meat industry advertising euphemisms for “dead infant body parts”, but it’s the truth. Australia Day has a grim and bloody history, and using it as an excuse to eat the butchered corpse of an 8-month-old baby adds another level of violence and cruelty to an already bleak day.
As the billboard notes, animals can’t lobby for their own rights, but humans can do the right thing to help living, feeling beings and the planet. By choosing delicious vegan upgrades to lamb flesh and only cosy plant-wool clothing and homewares, we can all spare sheep a life of suffering and a violent death.