The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-08-06T12:00:56Z Where are the hotspots? 2020-08-06T12:00:56Z where-are-the-hotspots Dear Editor, The latest Victorian COVID-19 key outbreak data lists twelve hotspots, of which six are in the business of killing animals for meat. These six companies account for over two thirds of the total cases in these hotspots. Are we getting the message yet? The high-speed killing of terrified animals for their flesh is toxic – in more ways than one. Desmond Bellamy Special Projects Coordinator PETA Australia 1a Henderson St Northcote VIC 3070 0411 577 416 CASES IN KEY OUTBREAKS - 6 August 2020 Organisation Cases Percentage Bertocchi Smallgoods 196 Somerville Retail Services 164 JBS 122 Australian Lamb Co 83 Golden Farms Poultry 31 Ingham's 29 TOTAL MEAT CORPORATIONS 625 67.4% Melbourne Health 89 Woolworths Distribution 59 Linfox 44 Nino Early Learning 43 Catholic Regional College 37 Respite Services 30 TOTAL NON-MEAT 302 32.6% GRAND TOTAL 927 New “FREE” udStream 3D Data Visualisation Launch a Great Success! 2020-08-04T23:00:35Z new-free-udstream-3d-data-visualisation-launch-a-great-success-1 Two weeks ago, due to market demand, Euclideon launched its new Free 3D data visualisation product called udStream. The new model is experiencing tremendous take-up and has been a great success, with hundreds of users already on board. Euclideon udStream is designed to help a large volume of users manage their work on 3D digital assets. UdStream is a new fast Free tool that enables breathtaking visualisations of massive point cloud data that can be streamed or stored locally. It provides the ability to stream, share and visualise massive point-cloud data files previously thought to be ‘too big’ to visualise. udStream helps customers with their workflow, collaboration, and project management opportunities with a ‘game-changing’ data visualisation tool. udStream content creators can easily share projects across the entire business as well as with their external customers - allowing deeper project collaboration, enhanced workflows and ‘one version of the truth’. udStream simply handles and brings to life massive 3D point-cloud data visualisation at speeds previously unimagined. With continuous growth, Euclideon services customers in a multitude of industries such as mining, rail, roads, bathymetry, defence, geospatial, oil and gas, government and many more. As well as partnering with major industry leaders such as Unity, Reigl, Aerometrex, Siemens, Esri, Austmine and Leica, with udStream being the medium for digital twin visualisation. To sign up and use udStream Free, or for more information, please visit the company website Profit above public safety 2020-08-04T11:47:51Z profit-above-public-safety Dear Editor, Under Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria we cannot have a haircut, exercise for more than an hour, or buy food after 8.00pm. Why, then, is dog racing still permitted? According to the Premier, shutting down the industry would present "significant animal welfare issues." What can we take from this statement, apart from assuming that a greyhound who no longer makes money for his or her "guardian" is going to be neglected, abandoned, or killed? After all, this is an industry that railed against legislation requiring them to provide dogs with enriching toys, claiming this "anthropomorphised" greyhounds. Greyhound trainers have previously been exposed for dumping dogs in mass graves, and live-baiting small animals. I am the proud fur-grandpa of two rescued greyhounds. These loving, quirky individuals spent their early lives cut off from natural pleasures like play, socialisation, and regular walks. One of them was confined to a cage for most of the day, and forced to live in her own waste. Her only exercise was being chained to a walking machine. The other dog has badly-worn teeth from chewing on the bars of her cage, and anxiety issues that are only now settling after years in a loving home. The cruel practices of this patently non-essential business should not be permitted in a State of Disaster, or any state at all. This exemption to the lockdown only serves to prove that racing industries put profit above anything else – including public safety. Desmond Bellamy Special Projects Coordinator PETA Australia 1a Henderson St Northcote 3070 0411 577 416 Stage four restrictions won’t stop the killing 2020-08-03T21:45:50Z stage-four-restrictions-wont-stop-the-killing Dear Editor, Hundreds of COVID-19 cases have been linked to Victorian slaughterhouses, but the new stage four restrictions allow them to stay open while, throughout the State, people are losing their jobs, businesses, homes and even their lives. As "non-essential" businesses close, the totally non-essential slaughterhouses continue to kill thousands of animals every hour, animals who, like us, want to live. Let’s not forget what got us into this mess. Experts believe the virus originated at a meat market in China. It’s no wonder that a deadly virus flourished in such an environment, with so many stressed, terrified animals in close conditions. But factory farms and abattoirs in Australia are no different, and in fact, the types of animals most commonly connected to viral outbreaks in humans are chickens and pigs. Around Australia, millions of chickens are crammed together in small cages and pigs are packed in faeces-ridden sheds and abattoirs, where they are killed on floors soaked with blood, urine, and other bodily fluids. Overall, 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases affecting humans were transmitted from other animals. To curb the spread of this pandemic, and prevent the next one, we urgently need to close the slaughterhouses. And as individuals we have the power to effect change every time we sit down to eat. Mimi Bekhechi Campaigns Strategist People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PO Box 20308 World Square Sydney, NSW, 2002 (08) 8556-5828 2020 is tough. Wine chicks are tougher. The 6th annual Australian Women in Wine Awards open next week. 2020-07-30T05:51:12Z 2020-is-tough-wine-chicks-are-tougher-the-australian-women-in-wine-awards-open-next-week In a year where few things are going ahead as planned, the 2020 Australian Women in Wine Awards (AWIWA) proudly announces that it opens for entries on Tuesday 4th August.  The ravaging impacts of drought, fire, flood and a global pandemic mean that, in 2020, stories of ‘success’ may not necessarily mean what they have in the past. Staying in business, creatively retaining staff, pivoting to find new markets, navigating times of uncertainty, utilising leadership skills, breaking new ground and holding your space. These are just some of the achievements the AWIWA wants to uncover through the awards in this most unprecedented of times. “We need stories of celebration and triumph this year more than ever,” says Jane Thomson, AWIWA founder and chair. “We’ve amended our criteria for each award to reflect the situation we’re all now living in. We think that 2020 could actually be the most powerful year yet for these awards as they reveal the stories of grit and determination by the women in our industry that may perhaps otherwise go untold.” The 2020 award categories are:  ·      Winemaker of the Year – sponsored by Tonnellerie Saint Martin ·      Viticulturist of the Year – sponsored by Wine Australia ·      Marketer of the Year – sponsored by denomination ·      Cellar Door Person of the Year – sponsored by Langton’s ·      Champion of Diversity and Equality – sponsored by Australian Grape & Wine ·      Owner / Operator of the Year – sponsored by Bacchus Academy ·      Woman of Inspiration - a judges’ choice award (no entry required) Entries close on 29 September, and the winners will be announced in a livestream broadcast on Tuesday 24th November. Once again, cities, towns and wine regions will be encouraged to host their own awards party whilst tuning in. The AWIWA pioneered this style of online wine awards ceremony when the awards launched in 2015, and again in 2016. It was not until 2017 (in London with Wine Australia) that there was a traditional, real-life awards ceremony. “We’re going back to where it all started,” continued Ms. Thomson. “This method of announcing the winners actually ensures more people can participate and be part of the excitement of the evening. It will also allow gatherings of people in small numbers - dependent on the COVID restrictions in each state at that time.” The awards are entirely funded by sponsorship. This year the AWIWA is thrilled to announce that the 2020 Platinum Partner is Portavin. While the 2020 Gold Partners are Hydra Consulting, Pernod-Ricard Winemakers, Langton’s and Wine Business Magazine.     *** ENDS ***   About the Australian Women in Wine Awards Started in 2015, and now in its sixth year, the Australian Women in Wine Awards are the world’s first and only awards platform for women in wine. The AWIWA works to celebrate and reward the work of women in the Australian wine community, and community leaders who champion equality and fairness for all sexes in the workplace.   The awards are owned and operated by The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society and conducted with the assistance of an advisory board of industry leaders. This 2020 board includes Jeni Port, Corrina Wright, Toni Carlino, Sarah Collingwood, Alexia Roberts and Shirley Fraser. Media contact - Lara Jago 0416 355 070   Good news: there's a meat shortage 2020-07-15T11:10:59Z good-news-theres-a-meat-shortage Dear Editor, After yet another COVID-19 outbreak connected to a slaughterhouse, Coles has warned customers that it may subsequently run out of meat products. What a great time to drop our society’s cruel and deadly meat habit! In recent months, four separate slaughterhouses have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks, with Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer saying these workplaces make it “intrinsically difficult” to manage the virus’ spread. Workers are often stationed in close quarters while doing physically demanding work, and fear taking time off their already low-paid, insecure jobs to be tested, or to self-isolate. Events in the United States offer a terrifying vision of what happens when slaughterhouses are ordered to remain open, despite the risk they represent. More than 16,000 slaughterhouse workers have been infected with the Coronavirus there, and a staggering 87% of these came from minority communities. Whether or not these shutdowns lead to less meat on the shelves, we should use them as a reminder to reconsider our eating habits. We don’t want infection numbers like the U.S.A, and nor do we need to kill feeling, thinking animals for our appetites, when humane, tasty, and immunity-boosting vegan foods can be found easily. Desmond Bellamy Special Projects Coordinator PETA Australia PO Box 2352 Byron Bay NSW 2481 0411 577 416 Ethics Masterclasses in Agriculture 2020-07-13T03:50:37Z ethics-masterclasses-in-agriculture Following the success of its earlier Ethics Masterclasses and recognising the importance of ethics in the industry professional grading, Ag Institute Australia is hosting two more online Ethics Masterclasses to cater for both Introductory and Advanced levels.  Introductory Masterclass Participants will explore the AIA's Code of Ethics and how it applies to their everyday work. Basic case studies will be discussed in groups. This is suitable for recent graduates, early career professionals, and those people working in agriculture that have not explored the topic of ethics previously. Advanced Masterclass Participants will explore the AIA's Code of Ethics in detail and work through complex case studies where ethical dilemmas are introduced, as well as examining breaches of the Code of Ethics. This will build upon the introductory masterclass. The Advanced class is suitable for professionals who are experienced, seeking to gain recognition and apply for Chartered Agriculturalist status.    Join us at 4pm-6pm AEST Introductory: Tuesday 11th August 2020 Advanced: Wednesday 19th August 2020 Participants receive a certificate and 10 CPD points toward their CPAg and CAg accreditation. MORE INFORMATION & REGISTER HERE   Ag Institute Australia is the peak industry body for agricultural and natural resource management professionals. Ag Institute Australia is committed to advancing the profession, and the application of science and technology, for the sustainable development of agriculture and natural resource management in Australia. Ag Institute Australia members are engaged in a wide range of activities including research, education, government, agribusiness and private consulting. Lockdown the slaughterhouses 2020-07-07T12:18:37Z lockdown-the-slaughterhouses Dear Editor, Victoria is again on stage-three lockdown, state borders are closed, and COVID-19 news is again accompanied by pictures of slaughterhouses. Two workers have tested positive at JBS abattoir in Brooklyn and Pacific Meats abattoir in Thomastown, while hundreds of others are being tested now. This follows the closure in April of Cedar Meats, which was the centre of a cluster of over one hundred cases of COVID-19. Slaughterhouses are toxic for the humans who work there and the animals who suffer and die there. But they are ideal for viruses, since people work in close proximity and social distancing is not possible. In Australia, the injury and illness rate for workers in the meat industry is four times the national average, since staff are often forced to work at reckless speeds to maximise production. Australian abattoirs and factory farms are every bit as filthy as the wet market in China where the coronavirus is believed to have originated. A colossal 75% of recently emerging infectious diseases affecting humans are transmitted from other animals. Going vegan is the best way to protect workers, prevent future pandemics, and spare animals from needless suffering. Desmond Bellamy Special Projects Coordinator PETA Australia PO Box 2352 Byron Bay NSW 2481 0411 577 416 Real Estate – The Next Frontier For Grays Marketplace 2020-07-03T04:51:37Z real-estate-the-next-frontier-for-grays-marketplace For Immediate Release, Sydney, NSW, July 2020 As part of a wider launch into the real estate and property market, Grays marketplace is selling multiple blocks of land in Kununurra in the Kimberley region in Western Australia. Located in the north of the state, a stone’s throw from the Northern Territory border, these one to four hectare blocks can be secured in July and August in a series of online auctions.   In conjunction with First National Real Estate Kimberley, and on behalf of Meertens Chartered Accountants (Appointed Liquidator), Grays marketplace will be running a three-stage online auction on the following dates:   • July 3, 2020 • July 24, 2020 • August 7, 2020   Each online auction will run for one day only.   Kununurra is situated among the scenic hills and ranges of the far north-east Kimberley region with an abundance of fresh water, waterfalls and swimming holes. It offers a range of recreational activities including fishing at various locations along the Dunham and Ord rivers.   Brett Garnett, BDM at Grays, said “Kununurra is the perfect spot to build a holiday home in the world-renowned Kimberleys. People who enjoy being in nature and those who like to fish will be impressed with what this area has to offer.”   Grays is pleased to offer this unique piece of the Australian outback to buyers all over the world. This series of auctions is a prelude to an exciting and forthcoming announcement of a new category on Grays marketplace – real estate.   While Australians have swiftly embraced online auctions for a wide variety of categories, the real estate industry has not evolved much in recent years. Tentative moves into virtual inspections and live remote auctions during the COVID-19 pandemic has not addressed the fundamental problems of the real estate sales and auction process:   • Auctions are over in minutes, and are very high-stress environments • Bidding is constrained to those people who can physically attend, and is impacted by weather, transportation and more recently, lockdown restrictions • Constraints for people wanting to purchase property interstate   Jeff McLean, Chief Operating Officer at Grays, said “We see a huge opportunity for buyers and sellers of all kinds of property to take advantage of our database of over three million Australians and our leading auction technology platform. Grays has been perfecting online auctions for more than 20 years so we are wellplaced to successfully move to property sales.”   During the COVID-19 pandemic, with restrictions on physical movement and contact, Grays has seen a large increase in online auction activity across all categories, with more than five million unique site visitors in just one month. One in 25 Australians has made a purchase on Grays, and one in six are on the database.   Grays marketplace is the perfect place for buyers and sellers of real estate to come together. Buyers can inspect and bid from the comfort of their homes, offices or even their favourite café. And sellers get access to a huge database of active buyers and Grays’ proven marketing campaigns.   Pioneering on-farm experiment – The Multimin Performance Ready Challenge moves into round two 2020-06-24T02:46:11Z pioneering-on-farm-experiment-the-multimin-performance-ready-challenge-moves-into-round-two With round one winners soon to be announced, the creators of the Multimin Performance Ready Challenge - Virbac Australia, is excited to reveal the 11 producers who will take on the Challenge in round two, this June, July, and August. The Challenge, which follows producers, as they track their experience using trace mineral management in sheep and cattle at high demand production times, will see competitors from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, battle it out in round two. Dr. Jerry Liu, Multimin Marketing Manager, said: “The Challengers have been selected from an overwhelming number of applications all of them top-quality beef, sheep and dairy producers.” He added that despite the trying start to the year, the decision to continue with the Multimin Performance Ready Challenge had been the right one. “The first three months of the Challenge have seen some positive results from producers as well as provided lighthearted competitiveness and relief to the community as well,” he said. Like round one, round two Challengers will be using Multimin to test the effects on animal fertility, health, and, ultimately, their financial bottom-line over the next three months. Round one Challenger James Burge (NSW) received his Multimin supplies from Nutrien Ag Solutions, Cootamundra has done a comparison using Multimin pre-joining this year versus not using any last year on the same sheep. The result – he had less dry sheep, fewer singles, more twins, and more fetuses scanned overall. When asked his thoughts on the results, he said: “The results are surprisingly favourable given the marginal season through joining. As we are targeting more lambs from fewer ewes, overall, the results are really positive for us.” James is just one of the many producers who achieved positive results in round one. Rosie Davenport (TAS) did too, posting in the Facebook group: “Awesome Multimin Results! So happy with the difference in weaning this year compared to last year in our beef calves.Giving Multimin to the calves four weeks before weaning has worked well, along with partial paddock weaning.” Dr. Liu says that he is expecting round two Challengers to continue this positive trend, as they are guided through the Challenge with expert support from veterinarians and livestock nutrition experts, while also working closely with their local Virbac representative. The following producers will be participating in the Multimin Performance Ready Challenge for round two 2020: Jacqui & Jason Impey (NSW), Ben Ree (NSW), Carlie Barry (VIC), Justin Hall (VIC), Joanne Jones (SA), Richard & Cynthia Stark (QLD), Troy Mostert (WA), Kymberly Teelow (QLD), Emma Patterson & Jake Berghofer (QLD), David Thallon (QLD), and Lester Rainbow (TAS). Interested farmers can follow each of their journeys and read more about the Challengers and their operations via the dedicated Multimin Performance Ready Facebook group: Round two Challengers who have already started posting in the group include black and red Simmental breeders, Jacqui and Jason Impey. Due to the ongoing drought, they relocated to the Tamworth area in July 2019 with a reduced number of breeders. Since then, their focus has been on retaining core breeders intending to increase numbers in the future. In their post, they said that they are excited to be part of the Challenge to help them realise the potential for improved health and performance in their Simmental herd. They are also looking forward to working with their local re-seller Elders, Tamworth throughout the challenge. With two rounds still to go, the Challenge remains open for applicants interested in winning the experience of a lifetime tailored to their professional development and farming system, plus 12 months’ worth of Multimin. Anyone interested should apply at At the end of each of the four rounds, two challengers will go on to compete in the finals with the winner selected by a panel of expert judges. At the end of the Challenge, a national “People’s Choice” winner will also be chosen by the public from the eight finalists and awarded a further six-month supply of Multimin.Challengers will then go into the running to win an overseas trip for two to the USA tailored to their professional development and farming system, plus a 12-month supply of Multimin. Second and third runners up will also receive six months of free Multimin.Ends. Media Enquiries:Kyleen Partridge - C7EVEN COMMUNICATIONS(02) 6766 Please note profile introductions of each challenger are also available. SUPPLIED PHOTO CAPTION: Tamworth, NSW Simmental breeders Jacqui and Jason Impey are ready to take on round two of the Multimin Performance Ready Challenge in the hope of increasing immunity, health, and productivity at their property. About The Multimin Performance Ready ChallengeThe 2020/2021 Multimin Performance Ready Challenge (MPRC) – a 12-month program that will see up to 75 Australian farmers experience firsthand the benefits of trace mineral management at high demand production times in sheep and cattle. About MultiminVirbac’s Multimin Injection is a trace mineral top-up that rapidly increases trace mineral levels in cattle and sheep for use during high demand periods. Providing selenium, copper, manganese, and zinc at strategic times of the production cycle has been shown to improve livestock health and fertility, thus optimising livestock productivity. RURAL AID AND EVOLUTION MINING BRINGING THE JOY OF MUSIC TO GAYNDAH SCHOOLS 2020-06-22T08:57:23Z rural-aid-and-evolution-mining-bringing-the-joy-of-music-to-gayndah-schools WHAT: RURAL AID AND EVOLUTION MINING BRINGING THE JOY OF MUSIC TO GAYNDAH SCHOOLS WHERE: Saint Joseph’s Catholic Primary School (10.30am) – 38 Meson Street, Gayndah QLD 4625 WHERE: Burnett State College (1pm) – 65 Pineapple Street, Gayndah QLD 4625   DATE: Tuesday. 23 June 2020 TIME: Saint Joseph’s Catholic Primary School – 10.30am and Burnett State College - 1pm CONTACT: Rural Aid Media – 0447 116 757 | SPOKESPERSON: Rural Aid CEO John Warlters | 0409 618 641 ON-SITE CONTACT: Jen Curnow-Trotter – Rural Aid Community Support – 0416 765 678   Rural Aid is delighted to announce the Community Support team is delivering musical instruments to Burnett State College and St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Gayndah, tomorrow. Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said Burnett State College and St Joseph's Catholic Primary School are part of a generous $120,000 donation of musical instruments from Evolution Mining to eight schools around their Mt Rowden and Cracow mining operations. "I would like to thank Evolution Mining for their generous donation, which is part of a $1.5 million donation to help support Aussie farmers with disaster assistance and their communities," John Warlters said. “In the past, we’ve been well known for our disaster assistance program: providing hay, drinking water, financial and counselling assistance to farmers, rural and regional communities. Building sustainable, stronger futures for primary producers and rural communities underpins everything we do.” “We’re pleased to announce a new remit for community focused support, including schools. All community initiatives, from July 2020, will fall under the auspice of Rural Aid’s Stronger Futures Program. “Schools are a key element of all rural communities and we will continue supporting them as part of our focus on community sustainability. This was evidenced recently with our ‘technology’ for schools initiative to assist rural schools with at-home-learning. “We’ve had some challenges thrown our way with Covid-19 in having to place Rural Aid’s ‘Our Town’ and Farm Rescue Programs in hibernation. And, our volunteers are readying themselves for the recommencement of community support activities. “I’m please to say we’ve been working in the background to deliver fodder and drinking water during Covid-19 and planning for when schools return and, our workforce can make their way safely back out in the field. “We’re helping schools prepare for the commencement of Term 3 music programs with deliveries underway this week. “Our thanks go to Rural Aid sponsor, Evolution Mining, a large employer of local communities backing local communities. They have made this and many other opportunities possible for farmers and rural and regional communities," John Warlters said. Other schools also receiving musical instruments in the Gayndah region, thanks to Evolution Mining's generosity, are listed below.   Some of the schools receiving musical instruments: Date Time School Tuesday 23 June 2020 8.30am Coalstoun Lakes State School Tuesday 23 June 2020 10.30am St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Tuesday 23 June 2020 1.00pm Burnett State College Tuesday 23 June 2020 2.00pm Gayndah State School Wednesday 24 June 2020 10.00am Eidsvold State School  Wednesday 24 June 2020 11.15am Mundubbera State School Wednesday 24 June 2020 12.15pm Boynewood State School About Rural Aid Rural Aid is one of Australia’s largest rural charities. Well known for the highly successful ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, the charity also provides financial assistance, water and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood or fire. Other initiatives support its vision that farming and rural communities are safeguarded to ensure their sustainability both during and after these natural disasters. Visit for further information on these programs and other support for our rural communities. Media: 0447 116 757 | Spokesperson: Rural Aid CEO John Warlters | 0409 618 641 Follow Rural Aid for updates on: ·        Rural Aid – FB: @ruralaidaustralia | IG: @ruralaid |IN: Rural Aid Ltd | TW: @ruralaidaust ·        Buy A Bale – FB: @buyabaleofhay | IG: @buyabale | TW: @buyabale ENDS RURAL AID CONTINUES TO SUPPORT FARMERS AND COMMUNITIES DURING COVID THROUGH DIGITAL AND WORKFORCE ENABLEMENT INITIATIVES 2020-06-08T04:10:07Z rural-aid-continues-to-support-farmers-and-communities-during-covid-through-digital-and-workforce-enablement-initiatives As many businesses look to pivot in the eye of COVID-19, we are no different except, we’re continuing to deliver behind the scenes – trucking fodder and water to farmers and, bushfire affected areas. Drought, fires, floods and now the impact of COVID-19 restrictions has meant farmers and rural communities are experiencing a cascade of unforeseen events over the past six months and, unfortunately for some – a mix of all. Between January and March this year, Rural Aid delivered more than $8 million in support to our Aussie farmers and their communities through hay, domestic drinking water, counselling and financial assistance – including pre-paid Visa cards and the Gift of Music program. Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters said that there was a greater need for services than ever before. Through digital and workforce enablement initiatives our team has found unique ways to stay connected with rural communities. Our counsellors are in regular phone contact and we’re also conducting online webinars including our Community Builders Webinars Series. “While it has been fantastic to see the onset of rain in many areas, the drought is not over – far from it,” John said. “In the past six weeks, we’ve delivered 6894 bales of hay to 459 farmers in 95 locations, trucked 936,000 litres of domestic drinking water; as well as providing over $1.2 million dollars in financial assistance that includes Visa gift cards to almost 1500 farmers. Of course, our counsellors continue to support farmers and their families too, conducting 124 counselling sessions and reaching out to 597 farmers by phone. “Our volunteers are currently sitting tight and we hope that they will be back on the road helping our farmers and rural communities over the coming months. “Transport continues to be an essential service during these current restrictions and by leveraging Rural Aid’s proven delivery model, we have been able to ensure farmers can continue to feed their livestock and receive domestic drinking water. “Two of our counsellors, Gary Bentley and Zoe Cox also have regular media participation, with Gary’s weekly column reaching 8 million readers across Australia. To further support farmers and their families, Rural Aid counsellors conducted the first On the Couch webinar on 13 May and the next being held on 11 June. “Organisational planning around COVID-19 has been undertaken to support Rural Aid’s direction as a matter of course to ensure the charity continues to meet the needs of primary producers and regional communities. “We’re operating in the background to deliver for our farmers, many who haven’t had a level of support as they start to rebuild post the summer bushfires.” Livestock and Agricultural Fire Loss NSW and Victoria Livestock loss across New South Wales, as a result of the fires, exceeded 13,000 with over 16,000 landholders estimated to have been impacted by the fires. Southern New South Wales had the greatest losses with more than 12,000 head of livestock dying as a result of the fires¹. As of 28 January 2020, the fires in NSW had burnt 5.3 million hectares or 6.7% of the State². In Victoria’s North East and East Gippsland areas, livestock and agricultural loss for the fires late December and early January were significant. Over 7000 livestock – including cattle, sheep and beehives – were lost. Over 53,000 hectares of pasture, field crops and softwood plantations were destroyed by fire. There was also significant fencing and farm infrastructure damage, such as fodder reserves, machinery and hay sheds³. As at 1 May 2020 in Queensland, over 67% of the land area of Queensland was drought declared⁴. Bureau of Meteorology The Bureau of Meteorology noted in the Events section of its Annual Climate Statement 2019, published on 9 January 2020, that, ‘The extensive and long-lived fires appear to be the largest in scale in the modern record in New South Wales, while the total area burnt appears to be the largest in a single recorded fire season for eastern Australia’⁵. Warmest year on record for Australia – mean temperature 1.52 °C above average Warmest year on record for New South Wales and Western Australia Annual total rainfall 40% below average with much of Australia affected by drought ¹Sourced from NSW Department of Primary Industries   ²Sourced from Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library ³Sourced from Agriculture Victoria ⁴Sourced from Queensland Government’s Longpaddock Drought Declarations ⁵Sourced from Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Marriage and a new baby - a note of thanks from a farming family We write to express our sincere thanks for the assistance offered from Rural Aid. An exhaustive 2019 saw the drought climax with the worst bushfires we've seen on our property. In November, we were forced to evacuate our property due to immediate bushfire threat. When we returned home, we were lucky, we had a home but still spent the following days fighting fires. This firefighting exhausted our water supply, with local emergency services using our last stock watering hole to save our local community. Despite the effect of drought and fire we remained resilient, we even got married on the weekend after the fires hit. The Rural Aid Christmas parcel and financial bill relief meant so much to us. With our livestock suffering depression with no feed and little water, this token reminded us we weren't alone. With 2020 bringing a change we were excited to see the rain begin. This too brought challenges as the rain caused local floods and further property damage with erosion. During this time, we were isolated on the farm due to flooding. This was a nervous time as we were expecting the birth of our first child anyday! In February we welcomed our daughter, Ember on the day the creek subsided to allow us access to town. The Rural Aid visa card was another unexpected surprise that was invaluable for our young family. With COVID outbreak our resilience was once again tested but the acts of support and kindness like that that Rural Aid provide will continue to see us succeed. So, we apologise for the delay in passing on our gratitude, as you can read, we were a little distracted! About Rural Aid Rural Aid is one of Australia’s largest rural charities. Well known for the highly successful ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, the charity also provides financial assistance, water and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood or fire. Other initiatives support its vision that farming and rural communities are safeguarded to ensure their sustainability both during and after these natural disasters. Visit for further information on these programs and other support for our rural communities. Visit for Rural Aid’s latest assistance statistics. Register at to be part of the Community Builders Webinars Series and to access past episodes. Media: 0447 116 757 | Spokesperson: Rural Aid CEO John Warlters | 0409 618 641 Follow Rural Aid for updates on: Rural Aid – FB: @ruralaidaustralia | IG: @ruralaid |IN: Rural Aid Ltd | TW: @ruralaidaust Buy A Bale – FB: @buyabaleofhay | IG: @buyabale | TW: @buyabale ENDS Will they live happily ever after? 2020-06-04T12:52:11Z will-they-live-happily-ever-after The Editor, Dear Editor, Be grateful you weren’t born as a commodity. 56,000 sheep were due to be loaded on board a ship, transported over the equator in intolerable heat, only to meet a grisly fate in the Middle East, where we have repeatedly seen videos of men tying them up and throwing them in car boots or slaughtering them with blunt knives in the streets. Due to an outbreak of COVID-19 on the live export ship in Fremantle, it was too late to send them – conditions on board, always dire, are even more horrendous as the northern hemisphere warms up from June. So is this a reprieve? Will they live happily ever after? No. The sole purpose of the meat trade is to make a profit from the suffering of sensitive, gentle animals. They will now be slaughtered for supermarket shelves, despite the fact that the market for red meat in Australia is shrinking fast. We may not be able to stop the abuse of these animals. But we can stop any more being born into a life of fear and pain by simply not buying their body parts or fleeces. It’s a simple equation: the big corporations will not breed them if we don’t buy them. Going vegan is better for your health, the environment, and of course the animals who won’t have to suffer. Desmond Bellamy Special Projects Coordinator PETA Australia PO Box 2352 Byron Bay NSW 2481 0411 577 416 Keep them closed 2020-05-30T04:50:22Z keep-them-closed The Editor Dear Editor, Frigid temperatures and cramped conditions have made meat-processing plants COVID-19 hotspots. Cedar Meats in Melbourne was recently closed down for a month after it recorded 111 cases of the disease. Meanwhile, Queensland’s Dinmore beef processing plant has closed for a week, citing market volatility and a shortage of victims to kill. The slaughterhouse normally kills about 13,700 cows per week. Isn't it time now to shut down each and every one of these facilities – and filthy, rotten factory farms too? As long as they remain open, tens of thousands of animals will be killed and workers, their families and the whole community will be put at increased risk of contracting the coronavirus. No one needs meat. In fact, the consumption of animal flesh is linked to a host of health problems that are among the leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. For the sake of animals, workers, and the public, let's close these dangerous facilities. And then let's keep them closed after lockdown by choosing vegan meals, for which no one had to die. Sincerely, Mimi Bekhechi Campaigns Adviser PETA Australia PO Box 20308, World Square Sydney NSW 2002 (08) 8556 5828 Caring is a sackable offence 2020-05-26T12:11:38Z caring-is-a-sackable-offence The Editor, The Editor, Shock, horror: a bureaucrat who worked at DFAT’s Agricultural Development and Food Security section follows the social media pages of animal protection groups! Dr Julie Delforce—a senior sector specialist in DFAT’s agricultural and food division—has resigned from the Department after being stood down for "following" her son’s website, Aussie Farms. In a year of budgeting bungles and dubious funding allocations, we should be pleased to learn that Dr Delforce is well-educated in aspects of animal welfare. As fair-minded Australians, we should support the employment of compassionate, informed people in our public service. Their insight might just help prevent the routine abuse of animals on Australian farms—the sort that would be illegal if enacted on household dogs or cats—and which often stays undocumented due to coercive ag-gag laws. If more of us could see the way that animals bellow for their stolen children, suffer intense confinement and fight for their lives, we would go vegan today. We can all support Aussie farmers by purchasing healthy, climate-friendly and cruelty-free ingredients from fruit and vegetable producers, and transition away from cruel animal "products" immediately. For a free vegan starter kit, visit Mimi Bekhechi Campaigns Strategist People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PO Box 20308 World Square Sydney, NSW, 2002 (08) 8556-5828