Following backlash from his involvement in an anti-shearing campaign for PETA, I Killed The Prom Queen’s Jona Weinhofen is now the subject of a new crowd-funding campaign, started by a lobby group for farmers in Western Australian who are aiming to raise enough money to send Weinhofen to shearing school.
“It costs $4,500 to send a person with no prior experience to shearing school,” reads the message on group’s Indiegogo page. “If WAFarmers raises this money, it will invite Weinhofen to attend one of these schools so he is better informed about the practices he is commenting on.”
The page was set up in response to controversy that surrounded a PETA campaign video and poster that featured Weinhofen, who is a dedicated vegan, holding what appeared to be a bloodied lamb, with the statement “here’s the rest of your wool coat”. It later was made apparent that the lamb was a prop and not a real animal.
“No one that I know would shear a lamb that size – it looks a day old – and certainly they wouldn’t tolerate such a low standard of shearing,” WAFarmers president Dale Park said in a statement. “The PETA campaign preys on people that have no knowledge of shearing practices.”
Cases of animal cruelty within the Australian wool industry certainly exist. In 2014 the RSPCA launched an investigation into footage, captured on hidden cameras by PETA, that allegedly showed the abuse of sheep in a number of Australian shearing sheds.
But WAFarmers and other representatives for the industry say PETA’s most recent campaign is a misleading and inaccurate depiction of standard practices.
In a statement released last month I Killed The Prom Queen responded to criticism of the advertisement, saying that while they are not “anti-farmer”, they do take issue with certain shearing practices and other elements of the wool industry.
“[Sheep] are certainly still merely possessions for economic profit and at risk of these practises, which is what the photo of Jona & the lamb represents,” they said at the time.
WAFarmers have so far raised $3,447, over three quarters of their target, and according to Farm Online they have been in active talks with Weinhofen to realise their objective. Though the likelihood of that remains unclear, at least until they reach their fund-raising goal.
Should they raise more than the $4,500, WAFarmers say they’ll “extend the invitation” to staff at PETA and, if it all falls through, they’ll “use the funds raised to improve industry awareness about animal welfare issues”.
Watch: PETA Australia Video: Jona Weinhofen Shuns Wool
Gallery: I Killed The Prom Queen’s Tour – Behind the Scenes / Photos by Matt Veitch