A lobby group representing Western Australian farmers have issued a challenge to I Killed The Prom Queen’s Jona Weinhofen, after the guitarist was featured in a recent ad by animal rights group PETA criticising the shearing practices of Australian sheep farmers.
“WAFarmers would like to send Jona Weinhofen, the face of PETA’s latest anti-shearing campaign, to shearing school for a hands-on education about Australia’s wool industry,” the group write on their official Indiegogo page. “It costs $4,500 to send a person with no prior experience to shearing school.”
“If WAFarmers raises this money, it will invite Weinhofen to attend one of these schools so he is better informed about the practices he is commenting on,” the missive adds. At the time of writing, the campaign is just under $600 short of their goal with eight days to go.
The crowdfunding effort comes in response to a controversial PETA campaign that Weinhofen holding an apparently bloodied sheep, which was later revealed to be a prop. Accompanying the image was the slogan, “Here’s the rest of your wool coat.”
PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, urged their Facebook followers to share the image and what they referred to as “the heartbreaking truth” that “this is what most sheep used for wool look like after ‘shearing.’”
The ad was quickly slammed by farmers and even fans of Weinhofen’s band, who took to Facebook to air their disappointment and anger. Even Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce weighed in on the campaign, which he called “a load of rubbish”.
“The lamb pictured in the campaign is now widely acknowledged as being made of foam and that is only the first of many misrepresentations,” wrote WAFarmers President Dale Park. “No decent Western Australian farmer would shear a lamb of that size.”
“Furthermore, when they are shorn it is to remove their wool, not their skin, as the campaign would have you believe. Shearers are trained in best practice technique, handling sheep in a low-stress manner that greatly reduces the risk of sheep being cut.”
The band responded to the initial criticism, assuring fans that they are not “anti-farmer” but simply dedicated to veganism and vegetarianism, lifestyles to which several members of the group are actively committed, but fan criticism continued.
WAFarmers write that if their goal of $4,500 is exceeded, they will extend their invitation to attend sheep shearing school to the staff at PETA, “first and foremost the CEO and the marketing department, so that in future there is no more confusion”.