PETA Hauls Man into Court for Verbal Abuse of Sheep

For the verbal abuse of sheep to take place, they have to understand human speech, right?

This reads like a joke—like a story in The Onion. But it is important to realize that real courts are dealing with this accusation as a serious issue.

An Australian news site reports, “Sheep stay silent in war of words over whether animals can suffer verbal abuse.”

It began in September last year, when the New South Wales branch of the RSPCA received a tip-off about the alleged mistreatment of sheep, including verbal abuse, that were being shorn at Boorungie Station, 130 kilometres from Broken Hill.

The complaint was lodged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which had apparently obtained footage and testimony from an undercover operative working at the station.

For Ken Turner, who operates Boorungie Station, the complaint itself suggests the sheep could at least understand English.

“The basis for the concerns was the rights of the animals, that they might have been harassed by viewing things they shouldn’t have seen or verbal abuse by people using bad language,” he said.

“To my knowledge, there was no actual cruelty on the job.

“The allegation was that bad language was used by an employee on the property in front of the sheep, and that they could have been offended by the use of bad language.”

[See also, “PETA to Utah: We Are As Barking Mad As You Could Imagine.”]

This is a helpful case because it shows you what is really going on. The point of prosecuting animal abuse is not to help animals when they are suffering. The real point of “animal rights” is to take rights away from humans. It is a rationalization for punishing people for what they do on their own property. It is, thus far, not legally justifiable to simply punish a man for what he says in his own home. But once someone pretends they care about sheep welfare, suddenly it becomes possible to inflict penalties.