Shearing school invite declined

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

WAFarmers says it holds "little hope" of PETA activist and metalcore guitarist Jona Weinhofen taking up its offer of attending shearing school.

Last week, the lobby group smashed its $4500 target by $1000 to send the Adelaide-born member of _I Killed The Prom Queen _to learn about the reality of sheep shearing.

WAFarmers made the offer to the vegan guitarist after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals posted a picture of Mr Weinhofen holding an apparently bloodied lamb.

In the post he describes the wool industry as "very cruel" and claims sheep are shorn without regard for their welfare because shearers are paid by the number shorn.

WAFarmers launched the campaign in frustration with how PETA had misrepresented the wool industry, and the practice of its shearers, and has been overwhelmed with support for the campaign it has received from the industry, exceeding its target in just two weeks.

President Dale Park said the company received an "ambiguous response" to its offer in a letter from the vegan guitarist, received on Monday.

Mr Park told _Countryman _Mr Weinhofen had indicated he would most likely not take up theoffer to attend shearing school because it would compromise his vegan principles.

"He said that he objected to the use of animals to eat, wear, be entertained, test on or exploit in any way," Mr Park said.

"Mr Weinhofen also raised concerns about how he would be treated by classmates and teachers if he were to attend, and also referred to the campaign as a "stunt".

"He said he was not rejecting the offer, but 'I just need to give it more consideration'."

Mr Park said he didn't expect Mr Weihofen would take WAFarmers up on the offer.

"I would have liked him to because he has made allegations about the industry and I would have liked him to learn of the reality of shearing, rather than just hearsay," he said.

"It disappoints me that organisations like to make statements from ill-informed positions."

Mr Park said if Mr Weinhofen doesn't end up taking up the offer, the money would be used to help educate people about the wool industry.

"We will probably spend the money on a video to show people that shearing is not what it is alleged to be by PETA and, in fact, it is quite benign," he said.

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