PETA activist and vegan guitarist Jona Weinhofen has yet to tell WAFarmers if he will take up an offer to learn how to shear sheep.
Two weeks ago WAFarmers raised more than its crowd-funding target of A$4500 to pay for the Adelaide-born guitarist to learn how to shear sheep, as a response to his appearance in a PETA video holding a fake lamb with supposed shearing injuries, while criticising shearers, wool-growing and woollen garments.
After no definitive reply was received to a WAFarmers letter sent almost two weeks, an email was sent last week to Mr Weinhofen asking for a response to the offer. No response had been received to that email by lunchtime today.
The crowdfunding campaign was supported by 94 people, who donated $5500 in 17 days to send Mr Weinhofen to shearing school.
“We are still waiting,” WAFarmers president Dale Park said.
Mr Park said WAFarmers had an offer from a woman to fly to Mr Weinhofen in California to teach him how to shear, but have selected a former WA instructor to teach him.
WA shearing instructor is waiting
He said Mr Weinhofen initially was positive about the offer, then commented as a vegan he shouldn’t touch animals and he might be “victimised” if in a group of other learner shearers.
“So what we did is we found someone who would give him the instruction on a one-to-one basis.
“So I think we covered most of his concerns,” Mr Park said.
“We did say to him in the letter that this was not about him being a vegan, it was about him making statements that weren’t true and he should be finding out that they’re not.”
Shearing offer faltering over costs
An alternative plan would be discussed if Mr Weinhofen did not take up the WAFarmers’ offer.
“We will sit down and talk about that, but I think what we might do is put someone else through the course and do a video of them shearing just to show that it is not what he purported it to be,” Mr Park said.
If Mr Weinhofen chooses to take up the WAFarmers offer, he will have to pay his own airfare.
“We are not going to pay him his airfare and we are not going to compensate him,” Mr Park said.
“He was the one who was quite happy to make woolgrowers forego any income they might get from wool, so I don’t we are in a position to say we are going to compensate him.”
In an interview on noisey.vice.com, Mr Weinhofen said he had raised several issues with the WAFarmers, including logistical costs with him living in California and lost wages while taking time from his job “to go along with their little press stunt”.
“My concerns haven’t been addressed yet, nor have I been given any actual information about the course itself – like whether animals are used or exploited for this course – or even when and how long it takes, so it would be impossible to make a decision,” he told Noisey correspondent Toby McCasker.
“I also suggested that the money may be better spent ensuring that the cruelty documented by PETA doesn’t recur, such as placing webcams or cameras in all shearing sheds that send a feed to a public forum (this should be fairly inexpensive), or perhaps by helping to make drug testing mandatory within the industry as has just been implemented by the state of Victoria.”
Sources: WAFarmers, Noisey.