The Fun Police

It would seem that PETA and SAFE’s next target on animal welfare is Rodeos. Now I am just going to state that I am not sure where I sit in terms of the benefit of rodeos to society, but I do know the animals are vetted before and after to ensure they suffered no harm. I also know that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. Like it or not, what happens at a rodeo, particularly calf roping and bucking horses were a way of life for many. It was the only way of catching an animal and four horse hooves beat two human feet in terms of the amount of distance to be covered. Cattle and horses have been roped, ridden and/or led for centuries as well as being harnessed into carts to carry people and freight.

One rodeo recently made headlines because a bull had be put down following an accident where it broke its leg. Tragic as it may be, it did spark a conversation at the breakfast table in our house. Rodeo animals are on the whole treated very well because a rodeo wouldn’t exist without them. In fact, the bulls used would most likely have been killed as bobby calves or when they are only 2-3 years old for burgers so this way they have a much longer life…….

There are many sports that carry elements of danger and people die on occasion. Should we ban rugby? Only last year or maybe the one before there was a very sad run where a couple of people died following separate head collisions in rugby games. Olympic sports carry danger, especially ones involving speed and vehicles where people race down slopes or round tracks.
Other events that people enjoy such as ballet or figure skating can be dangerous too if those involved, particularly girls, are forced to eat little or only certain foods so as to maintain the light weight and sleek figure needed. Girls have been hospitalized for being underweight and collapsing due to the energy used which they simply don’t have. Should this be banned as well? As someone pointed out, the vet arrives faster to help an animal down in the rodeo arena than an ambulance crew arrives to help a cowboy who is injured.

Another sport that involves a lot of injuries is horse racing with animals breaking their legs or being run to the point of exhaustion and having their wind broken which they don’t recover from. Should this be banned also? No government  would be brave enough  given the amount of money made, rather there is a focus on safe practices to reduce the likelihood of injury. Perhaps the same should apply to rodeos as well.
It is also worth mentioning that animals can break their legs just in the paddock, either fighting with each other (bulls especially) or slipping down a muddy hillside. These animals may not be discovered immediately, leaving the animal in pain for that much longer. At least at a rodeo the animal is treated within minutes.

The question then becomes whether we should ban anything and everything where someone, human or animal, can be injured. So goodbye all contact sport- definitely results in bruising, sprains, the odd broken limb…. Goodbye speedway and motocross, the latter especially since someone tragically died after crashing into a concrete wall. Goodbye any kind of activity on hilly terrain because you could slip and fall and break something- that wipes out the vast majority of our farming land and also tourist operations. I’ve been known to twist an ankle on flat ground so I guess we pretty much should never leave our houses. On that note, no multi-level houses because stairways can lead to accidents.
You get the point. Yes the list is ridiculous, but just how far will people go to protect something? Wouldn’t a far better approach be to educate people about the hazards involved and let them make their own decisions, and put safeguards in place for animals with vets on hand on the off chance a freak accident occurs?

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The rescue that wasn’t…..

It is probably about time that I start writing one of these again now most people are back into their work routines, dragging themselves back into 40hr working weeks, having slept off the Christmas and New Year hangovers and having already broken whatever New Year’s resolutions they made……

2018 has got off to a pretty hectic start here, with over the annual month’s rainfall in the first 7 days- not that we didn’t need it. It was VERY much appreciated and we are having the delightful problem of too much grass…. 🙂
In the space of a few days I drenched close to 2000 lambs, with over 1000 of those being on two back-to-back days which gave me a few blisters and my back and neck muscles a work out.

The excitement was a day or two ago when some fertiliser was being carted into our bin for a neighbour’s aerial topdressing. Dad arrived at the house informing us the truck had got stuck. A quick ring to the nearest neighbours with tractors found that none were available to bring them to help and the owner of the fert was not around. Dad decided to bring the bulldozer over but this would take some time so I was to go to the driver and let him know to wait. Having dropped dad off at the dozer I drove our 8-wheeler around to the truck, only to discover he had unstuck himself already and unloaded the fertiliser…… this meant that all my visions of stuck trucks and mud, and steep slopes with a steep bank down one side and a drain on the other all combining in one kind of mess were for naught, so I promptly returned to dad to inform him he need proceed no further. Bit of an anti-climax really……

Today involved bringing the cows who calved most recently home to mark their calves- simply clipping an ear (left for boys, right for girls) and giving them 2 ear tags, one per ear, ah and the boys getting another little procedure in the form of a rubber ring- what should have been straight forward. Well it kind of was as I had 17 cows and 11 calves, but one cow I knew had jumped in- a certain pet who remains nameless for now but rhymes with darky……. which meant someone must have jumped out and I could only hope didn’t have a calf she’d left and that she’d taken it with her. The temperature was rising quickly and it was rather muggy so the cows weren’t overly thrilled to be shifted but it was downhill all the way and except for a few stops in the shade they came home without mishap.

Sometime around New Year I went for a bush walk with some of my family which was very enjoyable. Here’s a few of the  highlights:

Anyway I better go so bye for now!

Merry Christmas

I (not so) recently flew from home down to the capital to study for and sit my final exam. It was fairly cloudy but at times I could gaze down on this beautiful country and extensive farmland. We live in such a beautiful country it makes me so angry to see such ridiculous policies being pushed through Parliament at the moment….. but more on that next year.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and stay safe on the roads. Try and remember the real reason for this special time of year.

Here we have the tree all decorated and the house all looking very festive.
I have 7 pets calves I am feeding twice daily…… I am all enrolled for my 4th and final year in 2018. Yay! Looking forward to having my degree all done.
Anyway, have a lovely holiday people, drive safe and expect more blogs bemoaning politics and common sense next year…..

 

This blog has two parts- the first, a general update, and the second, a dumping of my thoughts on the urban rural divide. maybe next post I will consider how that gap can be closed….
I have been playing a lot of pool lately, and getting better by degrees, plus going for walks most weekends. I recently climbed one of the nearby hills for the sunset and took the following shots:

 

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The camera doesn’t really do it justice but anyway…

Uni is almost over for the year, and I have one final test, a 2,500 word essay, home for 11 days then I come back and sit my final exam, and then spend 3 months at home working. Looking forward to it.
I am all enrolled to come back here to the hall next year, and also am enrolled in 8 papers (4 per tri) next year which will see me complete my degree as a BA, double major in psychology and criminology. Scary thought….

In case you hadn’t figured, how farming is viewed in this country concerns me. A lot. Especially given I’m living in the capital where policy is made and far from those who actually know what it is like.

Recently I saw an article on TVNZ published on FB about farmers protesting in Hawkes Bay. There were a heap of really negative comments about how bad farming is, how we pollute the environment, are rich and can afford all these taxes and are always wanting handouts- when the reverse is true- we pay taxes, don’t get handouts in droughts and contribute more to the economy than anything else in this country. Penalising us only drives prices up, or makes us go bankrupt, leading to food shortages and so more expenses for everyone else…..
People’s view of farming probably stems from the 1970s and 1980s when subsidies were around and the aim was to get as much out of the land as possible. However the subsidies were cut in the early and mid 1980s and over the next decade dramatic changes took place as farmers lost their government protection and subsequently started looking at what the consumer demand was and attempting to meet that. As a result farming practices improved and there was more environmental awareness and less ‘raping’ of the land. But such changes towards better farming methods and sustainability are seldom acknowledged in the mainstream media, the biggest outlet for the general urban public to get their ‘facts’ (or lack thereof) from.

Recently we had a class discussion about food processing that came under the topic of White Collar Crime (WCC), using examples from the UK which had the horse meat scandal a year or two back and chicken factory practices that were less than ideal.
A discussion ensued about whether we really know what is going on, with undercover footage emerging of unhygienic practices in a chicken factory, again in the UK, along with false labeling. Examples like these are why it is becoming increasingly appealing to cut out the middlemen, and some farmers in NZ are setting up their own butchers and selling direct to consumers, building relationships along the way.

To add to the gap I saw an article this morning about how farmers need to start thinking about the advantages of growing meat in the laboratories to tackle climate change. My breakfast nearly resurfaced! Aside from the fact that the planet is NOT warming and hasn’t been for the last 20 years, plus the fact that CO2 is good for us, plus the fact that any climate change is due by far and large to the sun and solar conditions such as water vapour and human impact is minimal, tampering with chemicals to make fake meat is going to lead to serious health problems further down the line. But people don’t think about things like that, they just want to point the finger at some of the hardest working people in this country who are simply trying to survive, rather than bothering to take the time to check their facts by reading the other side of each story, or something like Air Con by Ian Wishart- one I recently read and explains the above climate change facts…… It is a very good read, explaining complex science in simple layman terms…….

We live in a society that wants things and wants them now. Unfortunately the media, politicians and lobby groups know that and take advantage of it, giving people catchy phrases that on closer inspection have little substance. But most people are too busy stuffing round on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram to actually be bothered looking deeper into everything they are being spoon fed. Daring to challenge the status quo invites ridicule and name calling as well as blaming. Which is why a number of people are simply too scared to speak out anymore and so the dumbing down and  political correctness continues even faster because it is largely going unchecked.

Bye!

Urban-rural divide exists- here’s why

If I were in politics…..

Earlier this year a friend wrote a blog about what she’d do if she was a politician. As we edged closer to the election and the amount of political bribery increased I thought about what policies I would implement…..
As we now wind down from the election, waiting to see the outcome, logical or not, I decided to be brave and publish this:
(Some of the ideas within each category overlap with others….) 🙂

Health

  • subsidies for under 18’s and also NZ citizens.
  • Recognise the qualifications of overseas doctors, perhaps make them sit one test to ensure their knowledge.

Education:

  • Emphasis on the basics- reading, writing, maths and science.
  • Less computer and more teacher time, with students learning the reasons and rationale behind things, not just rote learning answers so they can pass levels.
  • Te Reo available but not compulsory.
  • Teachers do not have to treat those with Maori origins any better than students of any other ethnicity.
  • Keep clause allowing schools to close for religious instruction.

Defense

  • Boot camp for 16-20yr old repeat (3+) offenders. Put programmes in place which would enable them to keep the discipline, manners and respect learnt. Camp would last 6 months.
  • Invest in decent military equipment- ships, aircraft….

Primary Industries

  • No water tax for farmers, but charge bottling companies royalties that go back towards riparian planting, monitoring and improving waterways.
  • No emissions tax on animals
  • Agriculture would be taken out of the ETS- in fact that little piece of legislation could be bye-bye.
  • No foreign ownership of farms or farm businesses, eg. meat works

Treaty of Waitangi

  • Recognised as an important document close to 200yrs ago. However all treaty claims would be stopped, the Waitangi Tribunal closed, and all Iwi corporations would lose their charity status. Paying millions of dollars is not helping them, with increasing numbers of iwi filtering through the criminal justice system. There has to be a better way, by treating people equally and providing incentives to work and better their lifestyles.
  • All references to ‘the principles of the Treaty’ to be deleted from legislation where it has no relevance.

Tax, Income and wages

  • Lower wages for inexperienced under 20yr olds, with wage increases after X number of hours. Minimum wage for 20+yr olds until they have some form of qualification and/or experience.
  • Benefits would be paid direct to suppliers- i.e. beneficiaries don’t get much cash upfront, rather cheques are sent direct to power companies for example, and they also receive supermarket vouchers of X amount each week. This reduces the amount they have to spend on drugs or cigarettes.
  • No beneficiary would recieve more than someone on the minimum wage doing 40hrs a week.
  • Student loans cancelled if the student works in NZ for 5yrs immediately after receiving their degree.
  • An MP’s salary reflects the average wage of a NZer, with the PM getting marginally more. In both cases the income only lasts the duration of their time in Parliament. Upon leaving, all perks cease.

Social Welfare

  • Must have been a resident who worked in NZ for 25yrs to qualify for Superannuation and all the other healthcare benefits for those in retirement.

Transport

  • Regular freight trains to all regions, encouraging less trucks on the road.
  • Upgrade state highways

Law and Order

  • More police on front line
  • Intential murder means life sentence, no parole.
  • Introduce prison labour

Immigration

  • Only highly skilled migrants who offer services we need.

Foreign Ownership

  • No more land sold to foreigners, either farms or houses, unless they live and work in them, and have been in NZ for a minimum of 5yrs.
  • Buy back SOE that are partially owned by overseas companies.
  • Stop foreign companies buying shares in our businesses, certainly set a cap on how much- no more than 20% of shares.

Other:

  • Binding citizens initiated referenda- if legislation is passed, people have 90 days after the final assent to organise a referendum. Of those who vote, 70% must oppose the legislation for it to go back to the drawing board. The Government must be bound by this. People have 90 day trial periods, so why don’t we have that in law?
  • Encourage more growth in the regions, spreading out government departments- central ones obviously, but not all major business done in the capital. More people living in the regions means more spending which leads to more growth.

Go ahead, tell me this would never work and why. I accept some of them may be idealistic, but with a bit of tweaking they could work….