Actually Sam, It’s Ignorance That Ruins Lives

Sam Trethewey from the Fairfax online publication, The Land
Sam Trethewey, author of the Get Muddy blog, featured in The Land, the Fairfax online publication.
(c) Fairfax Media

The funny thing about reporting on issues relating to animals is that each side accuses the other of lying, exaggerating the truth, and operating with a hidden agenda.

The latest one to do this is Sam Trethewey, author of the Get Muddy blog featured on theland.com.au, and his piece titled Activist ‘nazis’ ruin lives.

As is to be expected from the pro animal agriculture based media, he has erroneously called Animals Australia an animal rights group, when they aren’t, and this isn’t where the errors he has made stop.

Tugging at the readers heart strings in the fifth paragraph, he attempts to demonise animal advocates by saying, Their disdain for the men and woman who farm animals for consumption is so bitter it obliterates any compassion for farmers, families and communities.

In the very next paragraph, he goes on to say how a 60 year old family run slaughterhouse was closed by Victorian regulators over cruelty allegations. Adding to this, claimed that Animals Australia influenced Victorian authorities to close down the slaughterhouse, and that Sarah Lynch perjured herself when making the story.

Rounding out the emotional segment by concluding with Virtually every Australian farmer would open up his or her books and farm, but you’ll never see that sort of honesty by these animal rights groups.

After painting such an endearing picture for the farmers, he continues to demonise animal advocates by claiming that ‘censorship’ of facebook is some indication that these groups are scared of the ‘truth’.

He even gets to throw that nasty V-word around by claiming that veganism is the core motivation for these groups campaigns.

Whilst I am not a fan of Animals Australia, there are a few things I would like to point out.

First of all, if Ms Lynch has perjured herself, get her charged with it, as I am sure that it is still a crime in Victoria. Also, just because prosecutors dropped the charges, it doesn’t mean that the offense wasn’t committed in the first place.

Farmers and slaughterhouses are two very different groups, and the titles are not interchangeable. If Mr Trethewey, you are correct in saying that virtually every Australian farmer will open his or her books and farm, how about paying a visit to those that won’t? Does the same apply to slaughterhouses as well? If so, I would be happy to join you on an unannounced tour of Queensland slaughterhouses any time you want.

Neither Animals Australia or most of the branches of the Animal Liberation franchise are vegan organisations. Animals Australia has come out to say as much, and the continual promotion by Animal Liberation of regulation and reform is a further indication that they are not. Whilst he was attempting to gain a seat representing the Animal Justice Party as a NSW Senator, Animal Liberation’s executive director, Mark Pearson claimed that the way to end live export was to build more slaughterhouses in Australia. Something that no self respecting vegan or vegan organisation would ever do.

[GARD]Sadly, I do agree with him when he says: If animal rights groups are accurate and deliver a confident message, why can’t they tolerate being challenged? Comments that test or bring into question their cause are instantly deleted and users often barred, even when those comments are rational and well-mannered.

If it is any consolation to Mr Trethewey, I have had comments deleted, and been barred from these groups facebook pages too, and I have been vegan for nearly 20 years.

Though I would like to know how a trophy hunt in Africa is any different to a ‘roo or boar hunt in Australia, and the fact that other animals are classed as property is in fact as much a ‘real animal issue’ as trophy hunting and bear fighting are.

To this end, I would like to challenge Mr Trethewey, and anyone else he wants to bring along for moral support to spend a day with me at one of the farmed animal sanctuaries that are located around Australia, where he will see that it isn’t only activist ‘nazis’ that ruin lives.

3 thoughts on “Actually Sam, It’s Ignorance That Ruins Lives”

  1. The author of this article claims that “‘censorship’ of facebook is some indication that these groups are scared of the ‘truth’.” That is correct, although I don’t think Animals Australia are responsible for this, to my knowledge. It is also claimed that “If animal rights groups are accurate and deliver a confident message, why can’t they tolerate being challenged? Comments that test or bring into question their cause are instantly deleted and users often barred, even when those comments are rational and well-mannered.” Again, this is correct, and a question that many vegans have been asking for years as well. When some of these groups refuse to tolerate polite questions from other vegans, they’re hardly likely to be able to cope with serious, and challenging questions from non-vegans or those opposed to the vegan philosophy.

    A serious social justice movement is prepared to (and insistent on) reflexivity, challenging ourselves to understand why we believe what we do, and being able to comprehend the answers to those questions. It’s about time we took ourselves and our cause more seriously, in my opinion.

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  2. I’ve found it painful trying to reason with folk like Tretheway. You really need to join in on the discussion on Twitter – especially the discussion involving the #AgChatOz fraternity. Well, if you’re a glutton for punishment.

    You’re right, “each side accuses the other of lying, exaggerating the truth, and operating with a hidden agenda”. It makes it hard to proceed. And what I have copped in response to reasonable questions and assertions has either been censorship, which Tretheway seems to have a problem with, or ad hominem attacks.

    I think at the end of the day, both sides are as stubborn as one another. Shall we just give up? Nah, target the easy pickings.

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