When social media is an opinion contagion | Editorial

A number of the surviving chicks on Easter Monday. Photo: Toby Vue.

A number of the surviving chicks on Easter Monday. Photo: Toby Vue.

While the Burley Griffin Way crash and deaths of one-day-old chicks on Easter Monday were devastating to report, the follow-up reactions to accusations that the clean-up operators buried some chicks alive exemplified the media world we live in today.

That is, the contagious nature of the loudness of damning images and videos initially posted by Vegan ACT and its calls for further action.

This editorial does not argue against others’ pursuit of investigations into the matter.

It is simply a reflection of how we, as social media users, may not at times let the dust settle before expressing our opinions.

The reactions to the close-up photos and videos of the chicks also show one thing inherent in human nature: at times, some of us need a scapegoat quickly to attain certainty around the meaning of events.

Even before investigations have been concluded.

Sure, Yass Valley Council was involved in the clean-up. So, too, were the owner and manager of the chicken farm.

Yet, from what I’ve seen, there were no questions about the latter, despite them being the operators of the final clean-up.

As others have also stated, those at the site conducting the clean-up spent up to 15 hours, beginning in the very early hours of a public holiday.

They collected around 80,000 chicks, or about 70 to 80 per cent of the total onboard, while looking after their own safety on a main road.

While Vegan ACT’s photos and videos can be seen as evidence of their statement that chicks were buried alive, how do we know those chicks were not buried by the truck when it crashed down the embankment?

Members of Vegan ACT retrieved 140 live chicks over five hours after the clean-up.

That is just a tick more than 0.1 per cent of the 108,000 to 110,000 chicks onboard.

For the clean-up operators to have saved 99 per cent of the chicks that survived the crash is one way of looking at the situation.

We traditional media and social media missed out on that opportunity to tell that side of the story last week.

Further, what we should also focus on is the cause(s) of such accidents and find ways to prevent them from happening again.

At the time of publishing this column, Vegan ACT has not replied to our queries about their pursuit of the investigation.

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