Misinformation spreading on social media

Misinformation spreading on social media


Gippy Goat Cafe owner John Gommans. Photo: Peter Kostos.

Gippy Goat Cafe owner John Gommans. Photo: Peter Kostos.

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I've lost a lot of time this week reading social media posts and comments on the pages of activist groups. It's felt a bit like going down the rabbit hole.

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We are lucky in this country that we have a choice about what we eat, what we drink and what we wear.

Most Australians, if they really wanted to, could choose to stop using or consuming animal products. But what many activists seem to ignore is that many people in this world are not so privileged.

Turning our backs on animal products - be it eggs, red meat, wool or leather - will likely increase our reliance on synthetic products. I, for one, don't salivate at the thought of eating cultured meat made from stem cells and engineered in a laboratory.

I'd also much rather don a wool coat than one made from a synthetic fabric such as polyester, which is derived from crude oil. Let's not forget, our reliance on crude oil and petrochemicals is considered a huge problem in environmental circles.

I've lost a lot of time this week reading social media posts and comments on the pages of animal activist groups. It's felt a bit like going down the rabbit hole.

Some of the views expressed in these posts are truly cause for despair. Everyone is entitled to voice their opinion and freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. But the constant sharing of misinformation about practices along the entire length of the dairy, poultry and red meat supply chains makes me worried about what lies ahead. In some posts I've read, facts are blatantly ignored in favour of fearmongering.

An activist's key weapon is video footage showing animals looking distressed and anxious, often after being disrupted in the middle of the night. Preventing this distress is one of their key reasons activists want to shut down the livestock sector.

It's a pity they don't apply the same thought process to dealing with their fellow human beings.

Gippy Goat Cafe owner John Gommans has elected to close his doors after what sounds like a relentless harassment campaign following an activist protest late last year. Mr Gommans said staff and customers had faced months of threats and harassment, leaving them feeling unsafe in their (perfectly legitimate and legal) workplace.

Monday's activist activity has forced our politicians into action, pledging measures that we all hope will finally make a difference, because existing laws and the courts system are failing to protect our farmers.

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