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Animal activists turn on live export critic

Beef Central, 20/09/2011

Patricia PetersenIt is not every day that an organisation that represents live export cattle producers rises to the defence of a prominent critic of the trade.

But that is what happened last week after Dr Patricia Petersen visited Darwin.

Dr Petersen, who is an independent candidate for the Federal seat of Blair (based around Ipswich) in Queensland, and who organised protest rallies against live animal exports in June, visited the Northern Territory last week to discuss live exports face to face with cattle producers.

After the meeting she publicly stated that she would consider changing her view of the trade based on what she had learned.

Dr Petersen has since revealed that she received abusive emails from people identifying themselves as animal rights activists in response to her comments. She said she also received a death threat via a text message from an unknown source that has been referred to the police. 

"Really, I would challenge them, instead of attacking me to actually have the guts and come up here and face the cattle producers themselves as I have done,” she told ABC radio.

"I guess you can only imagine how disappointed I am."

NTCA executive director Luke Bowen applauded Dr Petersen’s decision to travel to the NT to learn more about the trade and said he was appaled by the subsequent abuse she received from animal rights activists. 

“I think Dr Petersen did the right thing by personally investigating an industry that she had previously tried to destroy, and she should not be subject to this type of threatening behaviour,” Mr Bowen said.

“She travelled to the Territory and met with industry members, including myself, completely under her own steam and at her own expense; because she believed it was the right thing to do.  Regardless of her views now or in the future we respect her for her decision to visit”.

“Unfortunately for our producers, very few activists and politicians that have taken a stand against live export have never set foot in Northern Australia or the Territory and have limited to no knowledge of the trade”.

“it’s quite astounding and concerning to see the high degree of control animal rights organisations and activists are applying to the hearts and minds of people within their own ranks.  If this was really about a balanced view then it would be sensible take a leaf out of Dr Petersen’s book rather than attack her,” Mr Bowen said.

 

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