Live export influencer
A MODEL from NSW’s Central Coast with a passion for veganism has more influence on the public live export debate than the RSPCA, National Farmers’ Federation and politicians combined.
A single social media post in April from Sheridyn Fisher backing the end of live sheep exports had the potential to reach four million Facebook fans and more than 679,000 Instagram followers, new analysis from rural and regional communications strategists Redhanded shows.
The popularity of Ms Fisher – who appeared in a PETA vegetarianism campaign in 2012 and has written a book on vegan living – means she is reaching more members of the public than policy-makers.
RSPCA Australia, in contrast, has 283,000 Facebook likes and 9580
❝Here we are, 32 years down the track, and we’re not getting anywhere... — Jim Gall
Instagram followers, and the NFF has 229 Instagram followers and 8190 Facebook likes. In politics, the leading voices on live exports are well behind: the Australian Greens have 265,000 Facebook likes, the Nationals have 13,094, and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has just under 12,500.
“This is truly news to me. I had no idea about that at all,” Ms Fisher told the Rural Weekly’s sister paper The Weekly Times.
“My intentions have always been to help those that are suffering and I wanted to use whatever voice I had, and use my platform, to help those who don’t have a voice.”
Redhanded chief executive Jim Gall said one person with a strong social media following could dramatically influence the conversation.
“If we really want to change the sentiment we need to approach a Hugh Jackman, or Nicole Kidman or Keith Urban – someone who has a huge following,” he said.
Redhanded’s research shows Australia is dominating the online discussion on live exports worldwide – and the vast majority of that chatter is not in the industry’s favour.
Mr Gall, who is also an Euroa sheep farmer, said it was time to end the trade, arguing it was harming Australia’s “clean, green” reputation.
“Here we are, 32 years down the track, and we’re not getting anywhere,” he said.
BIG POWER: Sheridyn Fisher has the power to reach more people in the live export debate than policy-makers or the National Farmers’ Federation.