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Farmer chops up valuable Ooshie on live TV

A struggling Victorian farmer has chopped up a rare collectable toy on live television to punish bullies who abused him for trying to trade it for irrigation water.

Stephen Black and his partner Melissa Portingale believed they'd hit the jackpot when they unwrapped a promotional toy being given away by Woolworths to customers who spend $30 or more.

Inside was a prized furry Simba Ooshie, a special version of the standard Simba that's part of the supermarket's series of Lion King-themed figurines.

Not only that, it was number one of just 100, making it extra valuable. Others are being offered for sale online for tens of thousands of dollars.

The couple decided to offer their number 001 Simba for sale for about $5000, and use the money for water and other supplies for their drought-stricken farm.

But Ms Portingale says she copped a wave of online abuse despite explaining what she wanted the money for.

"We said we were asking about $5000 for it. People were just disgusted. The abuse started," she told the Nine Network on Friday.

"It was just hate, and suicidal threats, and yeah just some really awful things were said."

The couple then decided to offer a swap instead, saying they'd trade the toy for irrigation water. But the abuse didn't stop.

So on Friday, live on national television, Mr Black took a pair of scissors and chopped the collectable into pieces as a message to social media bullies.

"You can't buy it. I'm going to destroy it," he added, hacking away at the toy.

"If we were on the edge like some of the farmers are that have taken their lives because it got too much, this stuff may have pushed one of us over the edge.

"You ask yourself what is a life worth ... what money? Is it worth this? It's not."

Mr Black said his farm at Katandra West was struggling and he'd tried to educate people who had expressed interest in the Ooshie about water management problems in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Some Twitter users backed the farmer's message about water problems and denounced Woolworths for adding useless plastic trinkets to the waste stream.

Others reacted with humour, sarcasm and disbelief.

"The destruction of an Ooshie is a terrible thing. It rips the soul apart. When you cleave apart the Ooshie, the person and society must cleave themselves." @naamanzhou wrote.

Another questioned if humans had hit "peak stupidity" a sentiment echoed by @realmeneatarse: "1969 Man went to the moon. 2019 Man cuts up Ooshie."

But @McElstuff said the decapitation had caused heartache in his household.

"Oh great now my son is crying because farmer chopped off The Lion Kings head. Thanks a lot @TheTodayShow!!"

© AAP 2019