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Ann Britton Outback Photography

Meet Me at the Farm Gate


I am writing and posting this from Jupiter’s Casino, in Townsville. If you think I’ve run away from home and have taken to gambling, the answer is No! It’s a big enough gamble raising livestock.  No, the reason I am in Jupiter’s Casino, in Townsville, is because I am at Livexchange 2013, the very first Conference run by the Australian Live Exporters Council. The Chairman of the Council was recently quoted as saying the reason this Conference is being held “…is to showcase the livestock export sector as a professional and legitimate industry, delivering jobs, prosperity and growth to Australia,”  The pity of it all is that Australia’s former Agriculture Minister, Jo Ludwig didn’t seem to realise this when he imposed his ban on Live order diclofenac online uk Exports in June 2011. In doing so created a “perfect storm” that Australia’s beef industry is still dealing with today. It is also why I am at Jupiter’s Casino. I was invited to speak to Conference delegates about the place of social media in enhancing the image of the beef industry and my part in it.


I’ve written before about how this appalling situation we are all in, this “perfect storm” should never have happened. We, who have lived and worked with this land for generations, know its uncertainties and its vagaries and we work within the constraints the land imposes on us. We have learnt the lessons this land has taught us and we have become experts at what we do. However, our plans and our strategies have been ruined by those who do not know what we know and who have fanciful ideas about animal welfare and land management. Consequently, thanks to Ludwig’s ban on Live Exports, the effects of this drought that has gripped most of Queensland has had a much more dramatic and negative impact. We have a story to tell and I, for one, am telling it.


Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do and felt the incredulity and helplessness associated with such an accusation? Have you ever experienced having your business and livelihood pulled out from under your feet overnight, for reasons that have nothing to do with economics? Have you ever felt judged by people who obviously do not have the credentials to pass judgement on you or what you do?  Could you handle watching your local community be destroyed by the actions and influence of such people? Could you handle having to watch livestock starve because of this “perfect storm” caused in large part by the ignorance of some and the influence of others who have an obvious agenda?  All those questions are what Australia’s pastoral industries have been faced with as a consequence of the Live Export ban.


From talking on Social Media to people from all around Australia, this battle between farming animals for the benefit of humans and the ideology of  animal rights activists  has been brewing for over 20years, in 2011 the ARA’s squeezed hard enough to have an obvious influence on the Live Export trade and the damage has been immense. In terms of what the animal activists say they want, they have kicked an own goal and caused a far greater animal welfare problem than this nation has ever witnessed. The upsetting of carefully constructed management plans across the northern pastoral areas of Australia means that every drought caused death of livestock is fairly and squarely upon the heads of the animal activist organisations. None of them has chipped in to help with stressed livestock.


I want to make animal rights activists accountable for the misinformation and untruths they have peddled about  animal farming, I want to inform the consumer, to say to him, or her, via Social Media, ‘meet me at the farm gate’. Listen no more to the animal activist groups who peddle their nonsense via mainstream media, who just love the smell of controversy anyway. So, excuse me if I get a little noisy and persistent on Social Media, but I’m not just fighting for myself and my family, but for all those in rural communities across the length and breadth of Australia who have had the wind knocked out of their sails. I am doing it for an industry that all Australia should be proud of. So, today, I have told those at this LiveEx2013 Conference that we all need to stand loud and proud and confident in the fact that we are the real animal welfare experts.


I want to see Australia’s peak representative bodies play a more active role in telling the Australian people that our farmers are world class authorities on the subject of animal welfare and animal production. I want our peak representative organisations to strive for the teaching of the importance of agriculture to the Australian economy in schools across the length and breadth of this land. The gap between the urban population and its food sources has grown too large and must be closed. It can be done if we act cohesively, with one voice. If we fail, the outright ideological nonsense and emotivism pedalled by groups like Animals Australia will create even more havoc.  Animals Australia is an umbrella group for even more ideologically weird groups and they target our youth, telling them that not eating animals will make the world a better place. It won’t. In fact, it will lead to a shortage of food. Ag. Minister Ludwig foolishly listened to them and Indonesia experienced a shortage of meat. The ban also harmed Australia’s good name as a reliable export trading partner. Never again must we let these groups influence our pastoral industries. They should not be given credence, or ‘bought to the table’, as some would suggest.


This is why I am active on Social Media and this is why I am at Jupiter’s Casino. I am doing my bit making sure that Australia’s farming industries stand tall and proud and making sure that Australia’s urbanised population does not fall victim to the misinformation that created our “perfect storm”.