Chris Wiggins writes at Farmers Weekly:
Over the last few years I have stood in front of many, commentating rural sports in many rural communities in three different countries and feel it’s time to put some perspective into the emotive protests for and against rural activities.
We have just witnessed the SAFE campaign against the dairy industry and through the summer the anti-rodeo campaign gaining media coverage.
As in the case of the SAFE coverage, it’s easy fodder for urban-based journalists to get consumer buy-in and notoriety for their own careers.
I pat on the back anyone who is passionate about what they believe in or against and stand up for it.
I am, however, against sensationalising facts and issues in the pursuit of self-promotion and a win over others at all costs, whether it be the truth or not.
To win an argument one should be more knowledgeable about the facts the opposing side is arguing than they are.
It is my belief that neither SAFE nor the anti-rodeo groups have all the facts and if they were to educate themselves on the rural lifestyle and its hardships they would do either of two things – give up the fight or at least be a worthy opponent with an opposition based on facts rather than emotion and out-of-context moments escalating into protests with no substance.
The best way to counter bad information is with good information.
Gone are the days of local communities being local with many families having to travel at huge expense to events held in larger centres just to give their kids a chance to reach their potential.
So what do these young people do for entertainment that’s affordable? They hop on a horse, learn to hunt and fish, work a team of dogs and, more importantly, learn stock sense, common sense and a belief in a good way of life.
Their belief, unfortunately, is stripped back as they move out of that comfort zone into an urbanised world where they are told the ability they have is cruel and not a part of the world any more.
They should not show off the riding skills they have at a rodeo or show; they should not use dogs to chase sheep because it’s stressful to the sheep and derogatory to the dog and if you hunt you are inhumane.
If you shear sheep you are cruel. A wool jersey is the product of a bloody event and a pint of milk is at the cost of a bobby, calf which makes you a murderer. The rural person is now a social media criminal.
Everyone is a criminal on social media!
The local show is not on any more because the new health and safety regulations made it too hard to have events like a lolly scramble in case a kid gets run over or hit by a lolly.
A pet lamb parade is off for reasons similar to rodeo; a tractor trailer ride is in direct conflict to some rule devised by someone who has never seen a rural kid use his well-developed common sense ability learned onfarm following dad around, which is also now frowned on.
The above leads us to the following.
Rural people are being asked to conform to urbanised ideals and rules at the cost of their own sanity, safety and expense.
He has a fair point.