Propraganda and How It (Doesn’t Always) Work

The news was broken by PETA yesterday of the abject cruelty endemic in the shearing sheds of Australia.

It came with a video complete with an official sounding voice and emotional music.

Why is a dairy farmer having a rant about this?

I am against the mistreatment of all animals.

And I worked in the industry for about 10 years. So I do have some experience. But that’s a blog for another day.

I have seen the behavior depicted in this video, but I didn’t stand back and watch. I had a shearer sacked for treating sheep like that. I made enough noise in two other situations for the overseer and the grower to see what was happening and moved those horrid excuses for human beings on. I walked away from what would have been a lucrative job as a contractor allowed this sort of abuse to occur because the shearer was a ‘gun’ (lots of sheep shorn in a day) and even moved 800km’s away just to find a new team after basically being blacklisted where I was for it. All in all, I probably saw seven shearers act with such contempt for another living creature. They don’t get a lot of work.

Here is the video. Watch with an open but curious mind…

So here are a few of the problems I have with this video.

Firstly, why (again!) was the footage held for 12 months without prosecution of the shearers involved? This is something we see regularly from so called animal welfare advocates.

Some of the filming was obviously done with the full knowledge of the person being filmed. This can mean a few things. It could be a set up. It could be a mate filming a mate and that video has been used inappropriately.

A question that has been bubbling in the back of my mind is who has a hammer on their stand and why? Its not a normal part of a shearers kit.

Not surprisingly, some of the images were taken out of context.

The sewing up of a sheep is something that needs to be done from time to time. It has little to do with the per sheep payment system as reported by PETA. The reason a sheep ends up with a cut like that are varied but rarely does it lead to the death of the sheep. And no, pain relief is not used. PETA again are using emotion without facts. They are comparing human skin to that of an animal that has evolved to have less nerve endings in areas prone to damage.

There is also footage of a shearer with his foot on the sheep’s neck. To me it doesn’t look like much downward pressure is being used. Experience tells me its being held still so the sheep doesn’t kick and then need to be sewn up.

And lastly, who installed the cameras and was it done with full knowledge of the owners of the sheds involved.

If these groups had there way, every livestock enterprise in Australia would be under constant video surveillance with open to the public feeds over the internet. Nothing should be hidden in their view.

Agroterrorism is being used in this country by these groups to obtain footage they can then cut and paste to suit their own agenda. This is what I believe has happened here. Imagine what they would do with live feeds.

This picture was on the Weekly Times report about the video. I feel I should comment on this picture. Its out there for all the world to see. I have no idea where this picture came from but it doesn’t help anyone but PETA.

Or does it?

It shows a sheep with some blood. I do feel bad for this sheep. But looking at the picture I notice the sheep isn’t very cleanly shorn. There’s wool left on the rump. This indicates the shearer was probably a learner.

But the more interesting thing I notice is, except a tiny patch on the bottom left, the lack of blood on the fleece.

Could be a lucky shot… make your own assumptions.

Source: PETA

I am also guessing you have more question. And you should! All of the material shown by ARA’s needs to be dissected and any cruelty that we can stop needs to be stopped!

But if you want information from people who know and understand, ask a farmer! They are the people with the hands on experience in animal welfare.

There are lots of farmers from all over the world to be found on Facebook and Twitter and most are more than willing to let you in on the workings of their enterprise.

Feel free to leave questions and comments. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll probably know someone who will.

Thanks for reading.

No Toilet Paper. Goodbye Socks!

Today, quite by accident, I performed a little social experiment.
In the last week or so, I have posted and shared a few what I consider interesting links on my Facebook page.
These are some of them;

Animal Welfare: A Wyndham Station Perspective

An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow

EXCLUSIVE: The Danger Of Outrageous Outrage

Live-Ex Comes Home To Roost

All very interesting and informative reads that, in my opinion, everyone should read.  I had three “likes” and two comments for all of those articles.

Today I was having a rare read of my Facebook feed when I came across this doozy from an old friend I shall call Spud – because that’s what we called him at Tocal.

No toilet paper. goodbye socks !!
  • You and 5 others like this.
  • Alison Germon
    Write a comment…
    Of course I “like”ed it! It sounded very Spud-like!
    It was a trick. Within seconds I received this via chat….
    You’re in trouble! Lol! A friend did this to me, its a game. You shouldnt have liked or commented on my status. Choose one of the following:
    1. Damn diarrohea!
    2. Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket.
    3. Anyone got tampons? Im desperate.
    4. How do you get rid of foot fungus?
    5. Why is it no one is around5. Why is it no one is around when Im horny?
    6. No toilet paper. Goodbye socks!!
    7. Is it too early for a whiskey?
    8. What a day, can’t wait till my husband gets home!
    9. I just feel like running naked in the garden.
    10. Does liver and peanut butter make a good sandwich filling?
    Dont explain on the status, just send this message. Your turn!
    I looked at the list for a while and decided on 2.

    Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket….
    Like · · Promote · Share
    It was the most plausible post there. 9 was tempting and had it been raining I would probably have put that one on.
    As I write this, 17 people have clicked “like” and nine have commented.
    I haven’t shared the fact I blog with my Facebook world – too many of them know hubby and I’m not ready for him to know.  But I am tempted!
    Maybe this is what we need to do to promote farming – make it low and degrading. I doubt it.
    We Australian farmers have a lot to be proud of. We are the cleanest food producers in the world.  We are at the forefront of animal welfare standards.  We feed and clothe everyone in Australia and millions of people world wide.
    Why is it then I am taken more seriously when I post something about my boobs and nobody listens when I  share the stories of our lives?
    This is another reason I haven’t bothered sharing my inner most secrets with Facebook.
    But it does beg the question – if my boobs and those of others are so damn interesting, why are more people not interested in what’s happening in the  dairy industry?

Hosing Musing

Hosing out is a very mundane chore that needs to be done after milking every milking every day! That and the washing out of buckets and calf feeders gives me time to think.

Today I was listening to the news on the local commercial radio station lamenting the fact their newsreaders leave a lot to be desired (I’ll leave that for another time!). One of the reports was about the amnesty on illegal fishing in NSW. The report featured an emotional attack by someone against the amnesty – wasn’t listening that well!

But it got me thinking.

Why is it the news reports about agriculture – good and bad – rarely feature someone actually involved in the industry in question from the start? Most of the reports we hear and see are anti whatevers protesting against whatever it is. Then later rather than sooner an industry rep attempts to tell people that all the lies and innuendo that have been portrayed as truth by a headline hungry media are lies and innuendo.

This is where we are getting it all wrong.

We need to show a united front. We need someone in our corner to stand up from the get-go so we can be on the front foot from the start.

There has been a lot of talk recently on the role of farmer lobby groups. What is there role if its not to jump on these stories as they happen? Why can’t there be a dedicated media department, as there are for other groups, that listen for reports and respond to them straight away?

I also believe commercial mainstream media should have more good news rural stories. They are happy to show the atrocities associated with Live Export, but are they as willing to show how it helps?

And I have said it before and I shall say it again – The ABC Country Hour for each state shouldn’t be restricted to just rural people. It should be on at midday for everyone. Its just one hour five days a week. It might help that city/country divide.

What Does The Fox Say..

My new calf pen has a magnificent view. I can see most of the farm this side of the creek. I have a really good view of the springer paddock too which is handy.

It just so happened a little Jersey cow was calving as I fed the calves on Sunday. She fussed around for a bit, laying down and standing up a few times, making me think I should go check when I finished feeding the babies.

There was no need. She stood up and voila! A little black and white blob was left behind.

We had farming friends from away camping on our creek, and he arrived as I finished up. I pointed the calf out to him and he said he’d go have a look for me when he sorted the kids out.

I was walking back to the dairy and just happened to have one final glance toward the cow.

It was then I saw it – the bain of my existence – a red fox skulking across the paddock toward the fresh cow and calf.

We have lost more than one calf to foxes, and a cow or two.

They seem to smell the birth taking place and wait for their opportunity.

They prefer the cow to be having trouble and will swoop in of she is a little weak or has calving paralysis.

They come in and chew the navel off the calf, and the calf bleeds out.

We found a cow last year having trouble calving in the night (we were watching her at hourly intervals) that had horrific injuries. The calf was big and she did end up with some paralysis. The fox or foxes had eaten the teats off her and started on her vulva. The calf’s navel was gone and she was dead. They had started on the calf’s nose as well. The calf was only half way out when we found it.

The cow had to be put down.

Even with us coming and going the foxes were not deterred.

I called back to my friend and pointed the fox out. He jumped on the bike and went to investigate. The fox just trotted off a little, then sat and watched.

I followed down on foot and between us we bought the cow and calf home.

As it turned out the cow was ill and probably would not have chased the fox away, leaving the calf to be eaten alive.

So that’s what the fox says…. yum yum yum yum fresh calf!

Sydney Fox Rescue

Sydney Fox Rescue is another registered charity that shouldn’t be.

This is from their ‘Facts’ page.

Current fox management strategies and techniques are governed or affected by various Commonwealth, state and territory laws. The first of the listed PDF files describes legislation relating to fox care, management and removal by state. Please note Sydney Fox Rescue does not endorse the shooting or baiting of foxes or the use of snare traps but these methods are legal in some states. This pdf has been listed only to convey the legality of keeping foxes in captivity in New South Wales and the illegal nature of fox release.

“As foxes are not a declared pest under the Rural Lands Protection Act 1998, there is no legal obligation for land managers to control them. Foxes may be kept in captivity, but it is an offence under the  National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974  to release them.”

Further more in New South Wales you do not need a license or permit to own a fox (as a category 5 animal) under the the Non-Indigenous Animals Regulation Act 2012.

This raises another question – why are foxes not considered vermin?

Is it because the are cute? I don’t know.

Ask a sheep farmer what they think of foxes.

Ask a dairy farmer on the North Coast of NSW, where foxes are a contributing factor to abortions in their herd – on top of what I just mentioned.

Ask a free range pig producer about foxes carrying away the little piglets.

Ask the free range chook producer.

Ask people who live in the towns that have plagues of them.

Please share this with those who think we farmers are hard on the foxes. They are more than welcome to come rescue all the foxes from here before they meet their end.