Vegan activist Joey Carbstrong has blasted an anti-vegan documentary released earlier this week - saying the Australian media company which made it has a business tycoon with meat industry links as its chairman.
Billionaire Kerry Stokes, who owns a reported 43 percent stake in Seven Network, has a net worth of $3.2 billion according to Forbes, with assets in media, construction, and mining - and a 'privately owned cattle empire in Western Australia'. In 2018, it was reported that he owned 1 million hectares of farmland in Western and South Australia and is 'passionate about the agricultural industry'.
In February of this year, he sold the cattle, sheep and cropping farming aggregation he owned on Kangaroo Island with veteran cattleman Peter Murray.
Carbstrong believes Stokes' connections to the meat industry could be a reason the Sunday Night program - The Big Beef | Vegans and meat lovers go head-to-head - was, as he describes it, 'the most biased one I've seen'.
Carbstrong is featured in the documentary along with fellow advocates DxE Melbourne representative Joanne Lee and Meat The Victims Founder Leah Doellinger.
The show is presented by reporter and self-described 'red meat-loving carnivore' Denham Hitchcock, who says he, and other meat-eaters, are 'increasingly under attack'.
According to Hitchcock: "Militant vegans are trying to dictate what we have for dinner - and it's put them on a collision course with our farmers. The fight is getting loud and very ugly, and it's left the meat-eating public with a bad taste in its mouth."
The 17-minute segment opens with a confrontation between a dairy farmer and a vegan. It moves to drone footage of vegan activists occupying a farm, during a Meat The Victims action.
"[The farmer is] powerless, as close to 150 activists stormed his property," the voiceover says, using what Carbstrong describes as 'horror movie' music with the footage. "It was an invasion," says the farmer. "It was an invasion...I was fearing for my life."
The footage shows vegans asking the family questions like 'how do you sleep' at night, with the voiceover saying: "They were abused like this for an hour and a half...and this is not an isolated incident...all around the world hardcore animal activists have declared war...Just how far will these vegans go?"
Joey Carbstrong discusses Kerry Stokes' farming links in his new video
Carbstrong told Plant Based News that this program was the 'worst' representation of vegan activism he has ever been involved with - and that producers did not make it clear that the piece would be so heavily weighted against vegans when they first approached him.
He is described onscreen as 'the voice and the face of the extreme vegan movement', which is alluded to as 'terrorism'.
"I know how these pieces go," Carbstrong told PBN. "They will focus on some of the most extreme things I've said in the past, and mention my criminal past (he spent six months in prison and 18 months under house arrest) but then I will get to talk about the animals. This program gave almost no screen time at all to the animals. There is a clear bias here."
He added that the production used footage taken by activists during the 'Meat The Victims' action - but edited it to remove certain elements, including images showing four cows that had been shot by a farmer, and whose bodies had been left 'decomposing in the sun'.
"No context was given about the action," said Carbstrong. "Any cruelty shown in the footage was edited out, removing any implication of cruelty by the farmers. Farmers were painted out to be victims."
The show also features two 'carnivores', American Shawn Baker and Australian, Jess Pryles, who promote eating red meat-heavy diets. Carbstrong says the editing of the show 'made the carnivores
According to Seven Network: "While [Baker's] blood tests show slightly raised cholesterol levels, Shawn is otherwise in great shape. Even the scans on his arteries are clear."
Carbstrong says the vegan representatives were not offered to refute the health claims made about carnivore diets, or talk about the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Following the screening of the program, Carbstrong called the segment's producer Karen Willing, to challenge her about what he saw as biased reporting.
Carbstrong recorded the call for a video he posted on YouTube. He asked Willing if she oversaw the edit for the program. She replied that she had 'nothing to do with it at all', adding: "I didn't even write that one which is unusual for a producer."
According to the producer she hasn't yet seen the segment. She didn't comment on the use of editing or the omission of the footage of shot dairy cows.
Plant Based News has contacted Sunday Nights reporter Denham Hitchcock for comment.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.Reuse this content
Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers. She was previously the editor of Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
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