Darling Downs shearer disgusted by cruelty claims
SHEARER James 'Boogie' Ferguson knows what a shorn sheep looks like - and it's nothing like what People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is claiming.
The Surat-born shearer trainer has hit back at PETA's poster campaign that shows a battered and cut sheep above the words "Here's the rest of your wool coat".
Mr Ferguson, a national shearing competitor, said he was "disgusted" when he saw the poster.
He said it was completely untrue.
"I was disgusted and I was asking how human beings could do that (referring to the PETA campaign itself)," he said.
Mr Ferguson said the "marks" on the sheep in the poster, which was later revealed as a plastic prop, could not possibly be done by shears.
"It would have to be a knife to peel off the skin and we don't use knives.
"That's why we have shearing schools - so shearers don't cut them.
"We might get a cut on a sheep once a week with one guy and that's just because the sheep has been moving.
"You don't go near (the skin) and that comes down to when you're learning to shear we know not to go across the sheep, but leave about 3mm of wool."
Mr Ferguson has been involved with the shearing industry all of his life and is a fourth-generation shearer.
He said he had never witnessed any of the violence displayed in the campaign's video at any sheep station.
"I'd pull them out and say "Go!" because I'm a shearing contractor with my father and I would sack him on the spot," Mr Ferguson said.
"I've never seen anything like that."
The campaign has also met the ire of the wool industry and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.