A person whom I had never met face to face, a friend I had met through the 'save live export' facebook group called me just before the big RSPCA protest in Melbourne. She was having second thoughts about coming with my partner and I to counter protest at the rally and I could hear in her voice that she was very intimidated by the idea of being out-numbered a thousand to one at a very emotionally charged protest. (I don't blame her either)
"I just don't see how we're going to do anything worth while, there's so many of them, so few of us and they never listen anyway." She said.
Those of us who have fought this battle over the last eight months or so have often asked ourselves why we bother. I've often wished for the days when we were allowed to farm without having to justify our existence to a group of people that would never take the time to walk a mile in our shoes for fear having to challenge their moral vanity "live export is wrong, I am right, end of story".
Often, when cornered by hard evidence like government reports that clearly prove the massive negative animal welfare outcomes of the changes these people push for or the non-viability of abattoirs replacing live export (Indonesia recently slashed boxed beef imports) they turn to abuse or twisting previous statements all out of context, forcing the argument over old ground and into a vicious circle of repetitive venomous argument.
The disturbing thing about this strange tactic is that it constantly exposes the fatal flaw in the arguments these people use. They don't care what happens to the cattle, the sheep or the farmer for that matter. To put it in the words of one protester "farmers should just sell all their farms and get real jobs"
Vegan lobbyist's only care about being right. Negative animal welfare outcomes resulting from vegan lobbyists pushing for changes in industries they don't understand are simply blamed on the farmer and I have no doubt that any sort of concession or compromise will only be rewarded with further demands. This has nothing to do with animal welfare, kindness or climate change. This fight is about the slow, deliberate crushing of an iconic Australian industry by slowly destroying markets and increasing our costs to gradually kill us off farmer by farmer.
My friend did come with us that day, she stood shoulder to shoulder with my partner and myself against roughly two thousand protesters, she kept her temper and gave a good account of herself arguing the issues back and forth with both the good and the ignorant people that were present on that warm August day. When she asked me the night before "what difference will it make" my reply was this.
Someday, and I hope that day never comes, your children may ask you "how did it get so bad?"
You can look away, maybe pretend you didn't hear the question or say "I don't know" or you can look them in the eye and say in all honesty "I did everything in my power to stop it, we fought them all the way."
One thing is certain, if we don't fight we lose.