Fight­ing fund a slow burn

Countryman - - NEWS - Peter Milne

A fund to de­fend live sheep ex­ports is well short of its $50,000 tar­get two months after it opened de­spite the fu­ture of the trade be­ing the hottest topic in ru­ral WA.

WAFarm­ers president Tony York set up the in­dus­try fight­ing fund on the go­fundme site in mid-May with a goal to raise $50,000 to fight the neg­a­tive opin­ion of the live sheep trade.

By Tues­day, 23 peo­ple had do­nated $12,460.

Mr York said progress had been slow. “We set a tar­get of $50,000 — it would have been great if we were a lot closer to that,” he said.

So far, the fund has sup­ported the new Live Ex­ports Facts web­site, that was also fi­nanced by the Na­tional Farmer’s Fed­er­a­tion and Sheep Pro­duc­ers Aus­tralia. Mr York said if more money was raised, the web­site could be fur­ther de­vel­oped.

The lob­by­ing of Fed­eral par­lia­men­tar­i­ans could be sup­ported by putting out in­for­ma­tion and send­ing del­e­gates to pe­ti­tion in­di­vid­ual politi­cians.

Win­ning the so­cial me­dia war will not be easy for pro­po­nents of the live ex­port trade.

The Live Ex­ports Facts site fea­tures pro­fes­sional videos of five ru­ral peo­ple af­fected by the live sheep trade.

In the first two weeks, the videos av­er­aged about 360 views each on YouTube.

At the same time, Fre­man­tle-based Stop Live Ex­ports is post­ing a daily re­but­tal to claims on the Live Ex­ports Facts site to its 16,000 Face­book fol­low­ers.

Mr York said a per­cep­tion that the in­dus­try could be more uni­fied might be a rea­son some peo­ple are not supporting the fund.

The fund has been set up to be in­de­pen­dent of WAFarm­ers and had gained the sup­port of the Kim­ber­ley Pil­bara Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

Mr York said there was still a long way to go in de­cid­ing the fu­ture of the trade.

“It’s never too late and it’s never too lit­tle, ev­ery­thing counts," he said.

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