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since June 19, 2001


The Invisible Crime

Sheep farmers are members of an oppressed and persecuted minority.  They definitely are a minority whose size is far smaller then other, more well known ones.  The Government is not kind to them.  Sheep producers pay taxes at exorbitant rates, not only for money they earn if they ever should, but also for virtually anything they consume, in addition to having to pay a head tax on every animal they sell.  They get no subsidies of any kind.  The livestock handlers have no interest in promoting their product, other than to take a fixed amount of money per animal processed by them, regardless of what prices the market will bear for the animals that the producers bring to the market.

Shepherds and sheep farmers alike are the butt end of many jokes — totally undeserved, as anyone who ever handled sheep will ascertain.  At various times, especially in the West, shepherds were the victims of vigorous persecution that resulted in much loss of life and property.  The film producers in Hollywood made enormous profits from that fact over the years, yet not once was any amount of compensation given to the poor persecuted shepherds.  That adds insult to injuries received.  It is mercenary, economic exploitation of the worst kind of any minority group, ever!

The people producing the animals that are the source of mutton, lamb chops and other culinary delights derived from the labours of sheep farmers are not being treated well by society.  If anyone ever qualified for the status of an oppressed minority, sheep producers as a group are it.  They, unlike many other groups who claim victim status, are most definitely the target of hate crimes based on one or more of the attributes that are used to determine whether any given minority group deviates sufficiently from normal behaviour to be considered for special status in society.

The persecution and crimes directed against sheep producers are motivated by one or more of the following: race, religion, political views, and yes, if you give the numerous jokes about the sexual habits of sheep producers any credence, even sexual orientation.  If you think that the latter is too gross and too far out, consider some of the sexual practices of some of the other minorities.  Moreover, being a shepherd is not the result of any genetic accident, just like there is no gay gene.  Rather, just like a sexual orientation, being a shepherd is an acquired habit.

However, to a far greater extent than any other minority, sheep producers have an enormously redeeming quality: they are kind to the environment.  Contrary to the lies that have been told about sheep producers, sheep are a very effective means for control of noxious weeds instead of the costly and environmentally damaging application of chemicals.  Not only that, but sheep are fully automated, self targeting, self motivated, and very thorough in doing their job of exterminating weeds.  They are the most effective way of improving the productivity of any pasture.  In addition, they do provide us with environmentally friendly fibres for a very large variety of clothing.  The latter fact is well known to anyone living in a cold climate.

I have a solution for the travails of the sheep industry: Advertising of the kind that is being used by other minority groups.  Surely, advertising showing the extent of true and real discrimination against a minority group that is truly suffering from persecution must be far more effective than advertising promoting victim status for a group that isn't truly comprised of people who are victims to any greater extent than the average citizen.

The Invisible Crime

Edmonton police advertise against gay bashing, should any at some point occur


Just in case anyone in Alberta's capital city has been asleep for the last 10 years and has not noticed the elevation of gays and lesbians to the level of a special class, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is sponsoring an ad campaign to remind them.  For the month of June, 180 Edmonton Transit buses, one quarter of the fleet, are carrying a poster that states, "Being gay is not a crime.  Gay bashing is." The campaign is being conducted by the EPS gay and lesbian liaison committee.  However, the space for it has been donated by Pattison Transit Advertising, and someone else donated the poster art.  So, even though complaints of actual "gay bashing" may be unknown to police, no one can say the campaign is a waste of taxpayer money.

   EPS's West Division Superintendent Keith Duggan is co-chairman of the liaison committee, which was created in 1993.  "The purpose of the campaign is firstly to ensure that in Edmonton everyone understands that assault, whatever the motivation, is a crime," he says.  "And secondly, to assure members of the gay and lesbian community that whatever the individual opinions or preferences of the members of the [EPS], if an assault is reported, people can expect that we will view it as crime.  This effort is to help both the community at large and the gay and lesbian community know that we are aware and sensitive to that issue."  Supt. Duggan says there were four cases of "hate-bias" crimes in 1997.

   How much of an issue gay bashing is, however, remains a matter of pure speculation.  Supt. Duggan says the EPS has no readily available statistics on gay bashing for 1998.  For that year, they have six cases of 'hate bias' crime, which could include any crime motivated by hatred of a race, religion, political views or sexual orientation.  According to the planning and evaluation services for EPS, two were race-related and the other four are classed as "unknown."  In addition, some of those cases have not cleared the court system.  Further, Supt. Duggan has stated there were four cases of gay bashing in 1997, but there is no way to confirm this because the EPS has no way of indicating gay bashing on its files.

   Politically, police are forced to play this game.  If gay bashing incidents start to happen, homosexuals will claim the notoriously homophobic police do not care.  If they do not happen, the activists claim that the police are so notoriously homophobic that homosexuals are too frightened to speak up.  The only solution is to advertise how gay-positive the police force is.

   So up go the posters, suggesting that the citizens of Edmonton are struggling with a real problem.  'In fact, it is the police struggling with the problem of trying to satisfy a community that knows there is no political advantage in being satisfied," says Roy Beyer, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, a group monitoring gay rights expansion.  "Gays and lesbians have made great strides in achieving special status in society based on the perception that they are a persecuted group.  The evidence is that they are treated relatively well here in Alberta." 

Alberta Report, June 28, 1999, Page 26

Alberta Report

It was about twenty years ago that someone did a study of causes of discrimination.  Schoolboys in the U.K. were picked at random and divided randomly into two separate groups.  One of the groups in the boy's school received no further attention and was left to look after its own.  The other group was given the illusion that is was a privileged group, with great pains being taken in the study that the group was in reality treated no different than the other group.  The results were interesting, to say the least.  It took only a very short while for the group of boys that was ostensibly privileged to become the target of active discrimination by the group of boys that wasn't.

If that is possible by simply pretending that a group of non-victims is receiving preferential treatment, what will happen to the level of  discrimination against that group if it does receive preferential treatment?

Shepherds unite!  Demand that the truth about sheep producers be stated on the transit buses of the world:

Being a shepherd is not a crime, 
shepherd bashing is.

See also:

  • DVStats.org a search engine, aggregating research that examines the impact and extent of domestic violence upon male victims. (Off-site)

    This search facility equates domestic violence to intimate partner violence between men and women in relationships.  It does not provide information on violence between homosexuals, siblings or violence against family members other than heterosexual partners and spouses, such as infanticide, child abuse or violence against elderly in families.

Posted 1999 08 19
2001 02 04 (format changes)