An animal rights campaign against the Australian wool industry has sparked online fury from farmers and rural communities.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) shared a graphic photo on social media last week where a very bearded Jona Weinhofen of I Killed the Prom Queen fame was seen holding a shorn, bloodied sheep.
The photo was backed by the caption “here’s the rest of your wool coat”.
Adelaide-born Weinhofen is well known for his vegan lifestyle and has often been outspoken in his views, majority of which have been widely accepted by his fans but he has copped backlash before.
However the PETA post was considered a step too far by many. The post attracted thousands of comments, with many suggesting the image was sensationalised and that sheep shearing was not cruel.
On Monday, Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce also weighed in telling theb ABC that Australian wool farmers felt insulted by the PETA campaign.
“[They] get so sick of people lying about their industry, and lying about them, and besmirching their character when they’re out there earning a buck for Australia,” the minister told ABC News.
When the photo was posted it was questioned if the injured animal in the image was real. It’s been since confirmed to be a prop.
PETA’s Australian campaign coordinator Claire Fryer confirmed this to the ABC however she felt the prop was “an accurate reflection of the abuse sheep endure when used for their wool.”
This was despite being unable to prove her claims.
WoolProducers Australia have also weighed in on the campaign. They felt the image was “deceitful and misrepresentative of the usual practice of shearing.”
IKTPQ’s Weinhofen told Mashable Australia earlier today that he felt obligated to do as much as he could to put animal abuse in the spotlight.
“I was surprised by the level of insult,” he said.
“The things that Mr. Joyce said about me and my vegan lifestyle and lifestyle in California were quite inaccurate… I’d love to sit down with him and tell him where he went wrong.”
Weinhofen said he thought the backlash was severe because people were taking the bloodied sheep literally.
“It was meant to be a representation of general abuse in the industry”, he said, but added that the campaign might have been better served by PETA choosing a different image.
He stood by his view and involvement with the campaign.