The Times reports today that a sheep farmer, Gareth Wyn Jones, received death threats when he posted a video showing how to skin a dead lamb to make a mother adopt an orphaned lamb.
This is a traditional method. The video demonstrates how the skin of ewe’s dead newborn lamb is removed and placed over a live lamb as a jacket so that the ewe thinks that the lamb is hers.
Apparently, this method has been practised for centuries. It is seen as a more friendly method than using ‘adopter crates’ in which mothers are head-locked to prevent them seeing their lambs.
Gareth Jones lives in Llanfairfechan, North Wales, he was told by an individual in The Netherlands that his throat would be slit because of his demonstration of this age-old practice.
He explained that the skinned lamb had died of natural causes. This video prompted an angry backlash. Many described it as disgusting and shameful. Others demanded a police investigation.
Many critics live overseas. The death threats came via a voice message.
“I come and cut your throat,” he said in one message on Sunday night. “I hope to kill your children, you m**********r f****r idiot. I hope you die same way.”
Gareth Wyn Thomas is a bit of a social media celebrity. He makes lots of videos talking about farming and the pressures of making a living as a farmer. That’s what I’ve seen. This is why he has attracted so much attention.
Mr Thomas is concerned about the Dutch man’s threats because Holland is an hour away by air travel. And of course, being a social media celebrity, people know where Mr Thomas lives.
He regards the threats as hate speech and he wants the man found and put in handcuffs. He lodged a complaint with the North Wales police and they are investigating it.
It is not unusual for people to criticise farmers and their practices. They are seen as brutal sometimes. My mind turns to the Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix, and his speech at the Oscars ceremony in which he tells the world that a mother’s calf is torn away from her which causes immense pain for the mother.
The reason is to stop the calf drinking the mother’s milk so that it can be sold commercially. And there are other reasons. He considered it to be a cruel practice as many others do. It is just another example of farming practices which for commercial reasons have to consider livestock as non-sentient beings. Farming is arguably inherently cruel.