Sharing's Caring

Thank you to everybody who has shared this blog. Sharing is the way these things work, otherwise I'm justing talking to myself. If you like what you read please tweet, Facebook or email it to your mates. The more people outside our agricultural circle we can reach the better. Don't forget to have a look at the other blogs I'm following too. Everyone has a story to tell.

Friday, 9 December 2011

For those who may have missed it.....

This is a quick little update for those for don't visit the Save Live Export page. Since Thursday Dec 1 Gabyon and surrounding stations have been under seige by bushfire from lightning strikes. All clear was given today, 9th Dec. Our fire area totalled 103 000 hectares burnt, including what Tardie and Yuin station lost. God knows what Meka, Murgoo, Wagga Wagga and others lost. The following is a quick rundown I posted on the SLE page. When I get the chance I'll post the full story. I know I try to keep this blog light hearted but this is some serious shit. I'll get our photos and videos up when I can, but for now, thanks to those who have worried for us and those who have helped us.

My post last night on the SLE page.

A huge big thankyou from Gemma and myself for all the well wishes. The fire started Thursday arvo by lightning. Unfortunately there were also fires on Meka, Murgoo, Paynes Find, and God knows where else, meaning everybody was under resourced, stretched thin with 3 days of howling easterlies. Protecting 30kms of front with 3 units, a grader, a dozer and 2 loaders is not possible. Fire weather warnings for the entire area meant units could not be sent from neighbouring shires until two days ago, by which time some 65000 ha or so had burned.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

New Welfare Laws To Be Announced?

In a decisive move, the Government has announced sweeping new reforms designed to improve animal welfare and place responsiblity soley on the traders of animals.

Many animals are sold with no prior knowledge, or apparant care, of the conditions they will face once under the charge of their new owners. Under the new guidelines the purchasers will be required to undergo audits to ensure their facilities are up to standard, before the sellers are granted permission to trade their animals. It is a move expected to be greeted with rounds of applause from the animal welfare movement, who's exposure and documentation into breaches of basic welfare by owners raised alarm nationwide.

But those within the industry claim the activists views are one sided and only represent a small proportion of animal owners.

"These people care and respect for the animals we provide them. It's a small number giving the rest of us a bad name," commented one spokesperson. "We already take steps to provide our customers with the skills and resources they require to properly look after the animals we provide. There is a real risk if we impose too many restrictions on them the trade will go underground, or cease all together. Which at the end of the day, that is the activists real intentions."

But a spokesperson for the movement behind the documented welfare breaches denies this is their goal.

"Our evidence speaks for itself. Time after time we have raised the alarm over this issue, and finally the Government has taken action."

The documented cases of abuse can be found here. Not what you may be expecting....

It was this evidence that has led to the new requirements for pet stores and breeders. Prior to any sale going ahead, the purchaser must be audited, their house inspected and receive training to ensure they are capable of adequately caring for a cat, dog, rabbit, goldfish or any other pet they may wish to own. The animal must be tracked from the point of sale to it's ultimate passing, to ensure the best welfare outcomes for the animal. Any breaches of these requirements by the new owners will see the person or store who sold them the animal held accountable and face closure.

However, Fellows Uniting to Raise Rights Involving Every Species (FURRIES) is pushing for stronger changes.

"We at FURRIES believe the government has missed a real opportunity to push for an end to the live pet trade. This country has an extensive manufacturing industry, there is no reason why we cannot increase our stuffed toy production. And given advances in the digital realm, virtual pets can provide children with the joys of raising an animal without any animals being involved."

It's a this point I think you've all realised I'm taking the proverbial. While I'd like to point out the new reforms for live export are fine by me, and seem to be accepted by industry, I wonder if the same standards were applied more broadly whether they would be as welcomed.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

You Know You're a Farmer When.....

These were posted on the WA Country Hour Facebook page. The original author is unknown, but whoever they are, they're a genius.

• Your dog rides in the farm ute more than your wife.

• You convince your wife that an overnight trip for machinery parts is a vacation.

 • You wear specific hats for farm sales, livestock auctions and holidays.

 • Your best dog rides in the front of the ute with you.

• If you see a bit of string in a paddock you pick it up and put it in your pocket.

 • You’ve had to wash off with a garden hose before your wife would let you in the house.

 • Your ideal holiday is to visit other peoples farms and stop at every machinery dealer on the way.

 • Your hands look like they are made from the same material as your boots.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Golden Rules of Farming Part 6

I was stuck on the last ten for a while, but the last few days have given me inspiration.

126. The seed cleaner that has run just fine for the last four hours while you carefully watched it, blocks up and spills grain everywhere when you duck behind the tractor for a quick leak.

127. Never put too many oversize signs or amber lights on your wide load, otherwise it's hard to plead ignorant cocky when the cops pull you over.

128. PTO shaft guards are excellent at preventing things getting caught in the shaft. They are also excellent at preventing the grease gun from reaching the multitude of grease nipples on them.

129. If your stock carter starts puffing just from climbing down from the cab of his truck, you're in for a long day.

130. When recieving stock into the depot, no trucks will appear all morning, then when you decide to have lunch, six roll in at the same time.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Silent but Steadily

We have more than a few dogs here. We need them. When we first started the depot we had just two. The first day they thought it was great, chasing sheep all day. The second day they were still keen. The third day they stepped out of their cage half heartedly. The fourth day we had to coax them out with roo tails, and by the fifth day they flat out refused, mentioning something about the AWU. Thankfully they didn't know about Red Dog being a signed up member already, something I'm not keen to tell any of them, actually.

So we've gradually built our fleet of working dogs up over the last few years. We have paddock dogs, yard dogs, a truck dog, a couple of P platers, a few younger L platers and one poor bugger I'm not sure what to do with. But he seems happy staring at the horses all day, though I have warned him if he gets kicked in the head, thats it.

I took this video last week using Gemma's phone thingamy. This is why I don't have one myself, nothing would get done. This is Indy, one of our first dogs. She's going on nine, and we've got two litters out of here. Pure kelpie, they assure us, no dingo at all. Needless to say, when we take her out to the station she wears a bright collar, a muzzle, and if I could work out how to get one on her, a Hi-Vis vest. The dogging group is pretty on the ball out there, and the last thing we would need is for her to get lost while mustering.

These are a handfull of freshly shorn wethers. Mad as hatters, more likely to go over the fence than through the gate. From me opening the gate I gave one command "Back" which usually means left. (I say usually because when it comes to ballsing up lefts and rights, me and the dogs are on an even par.)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

She said what??????

Just when you think you seen it all comes this little gem taken from the International Movement for the Banning of Live Export, or IMBLE, a closed group on Facebook who plan to change the world with their letter writing and general whingery. A closed group means only members can see what's being discussed. But we have our spies in there, more for a laugh thatn anything. But this one knocked us for six.

Apparently dieing from fever and ulcers is alot kinder than the slaughter house. Who knew? And burning piles of animal corpses are much better smelling than those stinking ships, trucks, abattoirs and feedlots. Of course, it's only one person's opinion, but it is scary what some people actually think, isn't it? God forbid it ever happens here.

Maybe they should rename the group International Movement for the Banning of Everything that Could Involve a Living Entity Slaughtered.


I'd go on, but I'm speechless.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Rain, Hail, but no %@#$ing Shine!!

On of the certainties of farming is the uncertainty of the weather. You can be certain that certain operations requiring certain weather conditions will certainly go pear shaped at some point thanks to Mother Natures whims. And there is not a thing you can do about it. It's the game we play, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating when record grain crops get frosted overnight or hailed upon and flattened, or freshly shorn sheep go ten toes up thanks to a freak thunderstorm or your bumper hay crop gets nearly two inches of rain on it two days out from baling. I've been reminded in the last two weeks as soon as you start getting a bit cocky, Old Mother Nature will bitchslap you back into place, and her cousin Murphy will kick you where it hurts while you are down.

We go through a fair bit of hay in the feedlot, so each year our hay crop seems to get bigger and bigger. This year we have 160 hectares in, or 400 acres, and almost all of it is for our own use. We've gone from using contractors to do the lot, to getting our own baler, then last year it was a mower, and this year it was a rake. The rake is something you hope you never need to buy, and when you do, you hope you never need to use. The neighbours rake is always a good option. Until the deluge occurs and his other neighbours think the same.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Showtime!! (Love thy Nieghbour)

Sometimes I wonder if they aren't compensating for something
Field days. Where exhibitors spend exorbitant amounts of money to bring their wares for farmers to kick the tyres and mutter amongst themselves. A time when the bank managers turn a whiter shade of pale as the cropping cockies stagger about in a red / blue / green haze trying to get that new bit of gear at the once only never to be repeated "Show Day Price." Where kids gorge themselves on fairy floss only to sick it back up on the rides. Where you pay $7.50 for a bacon and egg sandwich consisting of a piece of burnt ham and a quails egg wedged between one piece of white toast and one piece of wholegrain bread, and no bloody sauce. The P & C's are worse than the Italian mafia. And speaking of mafia, it's where some genius decided putting a display of damaras and dampers (damara dorper crosses, we thought long and hard about that name) under the stud merino breeders pavilion was a good idea, or at least good for a laugh.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Double Standards

There's alot of arguing going on in Parliament lately. To-ing and fro-ing, argy bargy and general oushi kuso being thrown about. I've been in the tractor the last few days and have had the wireless on, the one I've welded the dial to ABC so Gemma can't get in and stuff about with my stations, so I've had the opportunity to hear a fair bit about this offshore processing business. And the hypocrisy of it all stuns me.

It all centres around the Governments Bill designed to ensure the High Court can't scuttle their plans to send asylum seekers / refugees / illegal immigrants (cover all bases so as not to upset anyone) to Malaysia for processing. The following comments are from the report I heard based on the exchange in Parliament. The whole thing is here.

JULIA GILLARD: We have made an arrangement with Malaysia which it has freely entered into and frankly, apart from being insulting to our friends in Malaysia, there is no reason to assume that Malaysia would not honour the obligations it has freely entered into.

Dead right. Foreign relations are such a complex thing. People, powerful people, can take offence at such tiny things. Such things must be considered when dealing with other countries, especially those that are important trading partners with Australia.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

You want to what? How many?

Humble beginnings, fattening pastoral stores on contract.
In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned we fell into depoting sheep for exporters. Purely by accident, we went from contract fattening a thousand or so store pastoral sheep, to holding up to twenty thousand head at at a time for quarantine and inspection by AQIS. This wasn't a steep learning curve, it was a vertical cliff face, but one we have manged to scale, and scale successfully. Five years on and we have done about 350 000 sheep, and still managed to get engaged, elope and get married. For those of you who end up phoning marriage councillors after drafting 200 wethers, all I can suggest is that standing at the draft gate expecting the sheep to run towards you as you scream advice to your helpers (wife) is never going to win you brownie points.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Left a bit...back a bit..... thats it..........bugger.

When we first took over our new farm in 2005, the first most obvious job that needed doing was the sheepyards. Bits of weldmesh twitched onto rusty old steel pickets with the odd railway strainer concreted in. The design itself looked good, a nice bugle race and a big area for many pens, but one good fart sneeze and surely the whole would fall in a heap. So we bought a heap of new rolls of weldmesh and pipe with the promise of getting to it as soon as we can.

Five years later we thought we had better actually use some of the new rolls of weldmesh and pipe before they rust away in the sea air. The problem with the old yards is while they looked terrible, the bloody things worked too well. Sheep just fly through them, and we barely even used a dog in there for fear of them getting their legs caught in the rickety mesh. So long as we all followed the rules of not standing there, don't push them too hard in that spot, and keep a few bits of wire handy, we got through without too much trouble. In fact, I don't recall one broken leg at all.

But Gemma had had enough. Sick of twitching gates back on and re training everybody who gave us a hand, she asked me one day, "What have you got planned in the next few weeks?" Now this question always worries me. Do I say I'm busy and risk her buggering off out to the station again, or do I say I'm not and risk a list of house chores that Tim the Toolman would baulk at. I went with the latter, seeing as all the crops were sprayed and the urea was out, no ships were due into the feedlot and the books were up to date. "Good, because I'm pulling down these yards and we need them back up again in three weeks before the next weaning." Right. No worries. Should've gone with plan A.

Golden Rules of Farming. Part 5

#101. Just when you think you're done, something else comes up.

#102. When your wife is crouched down next to you holding while you are welding, try to hold in your farts.

#103. The worse the bra, the rougher the paddock. Offers of help aren't appreciated. Neither is accelerating.

#104. Try to transfer the data to your office records before you lose the little red (or green) notebook in your pocket.

#105. Machinery field days are like strip clubs. You spend all day staring at something you can't afford and wouldn't know what to do with anyways.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Grazebook - Get Talking

This is a quick plug for a project a friend of mine is working on. It's called, basically a forum for graziers or anyone else to share their knowledge. It is well setup with each topic in it's own section, and has the potential to be a great resource. It's free to register and fairly simple to use. You can make your profile as private or as public as you like. By registering you can see private forums that non-registered people can't. They are still in the construction and testing phase at the moment, but would appreciate people jumping in and having a go, to help iron out any bugs before they go live in a few months.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Golden Rules of Farming. Part 4

Thanks must go to the good people on the Save Live Export Facebook page, who appear to have the same warped sense of humour I do, for their help with this last (for now) twenty five.

#76. The further you throw a tool in anger the harder it is to find. And when you do find it it will be broken.

#77. Never, ever curse the rain. Mother Nature has good ears and she is a vindictive bitch.

#78. When picking rocks in the freshly seeded hay paddock, do not worry if you miss any. The hay mower will find every one for you in the spring.

#79. The one time you forget to lock up the chickens at night is the one time the sheepdog breaks his chain at night.

#80. Bush flies head up your nose only when your hands are covered in grease or afterbirth.

Not Geep

A friend of mine posted an article from a metropolitian newspaper about the discovery of Geep.

Clicky thingy here to see Geep!

What the hell is a geep you ask? The answer you get will depend on who you ask. If you ask the good people in the article they will tell you it's a cross between a goat and a sheep. If you ask me I will tell you it's closely related to dropbears, yowies and honest politicians. How would I know? We run about 15000 of them on our properties, and by "them" I mean the supposed geeps. If it looks like a geep, talks like a geep, walks like a geep, then it's a damara. Or maybe a dorper damara cross. Or dorper merino cross. It gets blurry at times, but it's not a goat crossed with a sheep.
Freshly mustered weaners.

The damara breed originates from East Asia and Egypt circa 3000BC. They are a natural breed, meaning nature has done the selection, not humans. The first genetics were imported into Australia in 1996 from South Africa, a time when the wool industry continued to struggle. At first glance they do look similiar to goats. They have hair like a dog and some have bells like a goat on their throats. They are long rangey bodied animals, with a very strong herding instinct. Their defining feature though is their fat tail. They use their tail similiar to a camels hump, storing fat there which is then drawn upon during hard times.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Just add water......

In August 2009 the then owner of Gabyon Station rang us up. At this stage we were still busy convincing the banks buying the place was a good idea. "You've got to come up and have a look around the joint,"he said. "Even if you don't end up buying it, we'll never see it this good again." They had just had their first real winter in years, and the place was going off, in fact the background photo of this blog comes from then, as does the side photo of the flowers near the yards.

Rob may have jumped the gun a little with his last statement. After a decent winter in 2009, and a reasonable one in 2010, it seems the heavens finally remembered what it supposed to do, and that it liked doing it. Rain. Glorious rain. It started raining in December 2010 and doesn't seemed to have stopped since. And the best thing is, everyone looks to have got something.

Can you see the huge log just in front of the motorbike? I didn't either.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sometimes even no clouds has a silver lining. Part 2.

2007. A new year. A much anticipated new year. Forget 2006, that's one we will wipe from our memories. Learn what we can from it and move on. This year is our year. We'll pick up where we let off in 2005. Our new feedlot is going gangbusters with the shippers, now all we need is a reasonable season and we'll make some ground back. As some bright spark once told me, it always rains after a drought. What that wonderful piece of wisdom forgets to mention is that it always blows before a rain.

The view from our front veranda. We shovelled wheelbarrow
loads out of the house afterwards.
There is a reason the trees grows sideways here. The same reason a fifty something turbine windfarm is built right next to our place. Also the same reason pilots landing in Geraldton call it running the gauntlet. What some might call a gale we call a sea breeze. From about November to April the wind blows. And blows. Easterlies in the morning and South Westers in the evening. It can be relentless. 

And after 2006 the last thing we needed was a record breaking day of wind. But blow it did. A cyclone was coming down and it was going to be a beauty. Bring it on we said. As I watched everything blow away I consoled myself with the fact at least it was going to rain. Yup, bring on the rain...... anytime now, my neighbour is getting my paddocks. Where's the bloody rain? Two days later the wind stopped and we were left with two farms that can only be described as the Sahara. And not a drop of water had hit the ground.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Golden Rules of Farming. Part 3

#51. The motor that will not start for your wife after hours of trying starts first time when you try. And it's your fault.

#52. The distance a loose lamb squirts while in the marking cradle is proportional to how wide your mouth is open.

#53. Dogs with thousands of acres to roam crap on the lawn.

#54. Stockies can be covered from head to toe in dust, mud, blood, shit and piss, but one drop of hydraulic oil and they lose their freakin' minds.

#55. It is poor form to offer your wife welding gloves after you have given her third degree burns.


The following is my summation of the basic arguments against Live Export. This short spiel could appear on any of the Ban Live Export Pages and it wouldn't appear any different to anything else posted there.

Every year thousands of animals die and countless more are injured thanks to the live export industry. This is despite millions of dollars being spent on education and training, along with improved infrastructure. The Australian public has had enough. There is only one solution, and that is to bring an end to the live export industry. There is no need for it. Australia has an excellent meat processing industry, and any areas lacking meat processing can easily have new abattoirs built. And the people involved in the live export industry will learn to adapt. They can become meat workers or packers in the new larger meat processing industry. As for the argument that Australia banning live export won't have an effect on the rest of the world, we need to lead by example. Think of the benefits in increased local jobs, decreased pollution and at least our animals won't be dying horrible deaths. People who aren't willing to accept this as the best solution are stuck in the past. They are only worried about themselves and the impact this solution has on them.

Sounds convincing to the average punter, doesn't it. But what happens if I change just a few words here and there to make the argument become a little more personal?

Every year thousands of people die and countless more are injured thanks to the car industry. This is despite millions of dollars being spent on education and training, along with improved infrastructure. The Australian public has had enough. There is only one solution, and that is to bring an end to the car industry. There is no need for it. Australia has an excellent public transport industry, and any areas lacking public transport can easily have new stations built. And the people involved in the car industry will learn to adapt. They can become bus drivers or train drivers in the new larger public transport industry. As for the argument that Australia banning cars won't have an effect on the rest of the world, we need to lead by example. Think of the benefits in increased local jobs, decreased pollution and at least our people won't be dying horrible deaths. People who aren't willing to accept this as the best solution are stuck in the past. They are only worried about themselves and the impact this solution has on them.

I'd be laughed out of cyberspace wouldn't I?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Golden Rules of Farming. - Part 2

To continue on.....

#26. The neighbour will always have better crop yields / sale price / lambing percentages. Unless it's a drought. Then he'll have worse crop yields / sale price / lambing percentages.

#27. An old ewe that has happily walked five kilometres in the muster will sit down and sulk fifty metres from the gate.

#28. A human being / ute / motorbike or tractor looks exactly the same as it's mother to a new born lamb.

#29. A new born lamb chasing after what it thinks is it's mother is exceptionally fast.

#30. Beware the calf playing doggo in long grass, for you will break your neck.

Sometimes even no clouds has a silver lining. Part 1.

It's funny how we end up where we are in life. If you had told me ten years ago I'd be full time farming, operate a  20 000 head sheep depot, be part of owning a 670 000 acre pastoral station near Yalgoo, have 12000 sheep and decide that big tractors and burning diesel wasn't for me,  I would have politely nodded while speed dialing directory assistance for the nearest looney bin.

 Ten years ago I had just started a real job. Got a trade, as every farmers son was advised to do back then. So I did. I was halfway through a Building Design and Drafting (with a pen, not a gate) TAFE course when I got offered a job with a local crayboat builder as a drafty. Not knowing anything about boats except that they make me feel crook and catch bugger all fish, I spent three enjoyable and educational years there until I got sick of being in an office. So we went back farming.

Hay Paddock, 11th  June. It had been in for nearly 6 weeks.
Gemma had moved up here by then onto her little home block, 540 acres of lovely country. She looked after her damara stud and managed another farm in Chapman Valley, while I worked on another. In 2005 her mother and father decided to get back into farming and the four of us went into partnership and bought our second farm the other side of Walkaway. We settled in June and it was a mad rush to scratch a bit of crop in to tidy the place up and sort out what little fencing was on the joint.

2006. The new farm was coming along nicely. We had been dabbling in contract feeding for stations on our small block over summer, and had just leased the farm Gemma was managing. We were set. Had the plans, had the finance, had the will. We were going to kill the pig this year. Then it forgot to rain.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Golden Rules of Farming. - Part 1

 The longer I work the more I realise that Murphy was probably a farmer. These are all based on experiance and in no particular order.

#1. A windmill winch that worked perfectly fine in the shed fails to work after the 24km trip to the broken windmill.

#2. The same winch works perfectly again once back in the shed.

#3. Windmills that work all year break on New Years Eve in 45 C degree heat.

#4. Windmill ladders have been perfectly designed to use the least amount of steel possible (seriously how hard is to put a decent ladder on them?)

#5. A deaf sheepdog's hearing improves remarkabley when you pick up a waddi.

#6. Touching the end of a jigger is not the best way to see if it works. It is however the best way to make someone fall off a stock truck laughing.

#7. Beware the jiggers that keep a shot up the spout lest you brush your arm as you climb the stock truck. Then let go in pain.

Friday, 19 August 2011

The art of Oushi Kuso

No it's not some fancy new fandangled sushi restaurant owned by a swanky chef with his own TV show. But I wish it was. So far as I can tell it's an ancient Japanese form of communication whereby the communicator uses whatever means they are able to convince their audience they are telling an honest tale. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. We all know or have seen someone adept in this art. The recreational fisherman with the one that got away. The mate at the pub telling us about the girl that didn't get away. The footy player being interviewed claiming the side they've just thumped by eleventy squillion points is a good team. Oushi Kuso. And perhaps most of us have been guilty of indulging in a bit of Oushi Kuso ourselves. Fortunately, many are clever enough to see Oushi Kuso for what it is, and no real harm is done. But when Oushi Kuso is presented as fact to an audience that knows no better, and has the power to act on what they believe to be true, then that is a cause for real concern.

Recently, Animals Australia released a new website. Animals Australia Unleashed. Unleashed? It's not like they were holding back before was it? Turns out they were. Unleashed is aimed squarely at the youth, and they have let the dogs of the chain in the finest display of Oushi Kuso I have ever seen.

Relief....for now.

A collective sigh of relief was heard yesterday throughout many rural communities as the two Bills for the banning of live export from Australia were voted down in an overwhelming majority. In fact, they didn't get a vote. Independant MP Andrew Wilke and Greens MP Adam Bandt cut lonely figures on the benches as the parliment shunned their Bills.

But don't think it's over, not by a long shot. Already Animal Australia has released "new" footage from Turkey, although they can not confirm whether the animals shown are Australian or not.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Man's Best Friend.

It is often said a good sheepdog is worth three men. Or ten, if your neighbour is telling the story. Watching a working dog in action is a thing of beauty. I have often said myself the day I train dogs to open gates is the day my casual workforce halves. All they want to do is please you and ask for nothing more than a pat and a good feed.

Blue, in training. Notice his big feet?

There a times however, when we ourselves confuse the dogs. The paddock we normally bring the sheep through into the yards might be in crop, so we decide to go another way. Now the dog know for themselves which way is the best way, regardless of what you might think, and it can take some explaining and cajoling to convince the dog the route we've taken since he was a pup is not the route we take today. Or maybe we decide to leave any straggler sheep behind, usually a cardinal sin. This goes against all the rules according to the dog, and again, much cajoling is needed. And dogs can give the best dirty looks.

But on this particular day, nothing could have prepared me for what happened. And it only happened because the dog listened to my exact commands and followed accordingly.

When Push Comes to Shove.

Blogging. Tweeting. Facebook. Rallies. Protests. Letter writing. Things I used to associate with people who had too much time and not enough to do. Not something I would ever get involved in. Or so I thought.

Farmers Rally in Geraldton WA
It's amazing how your perspective on things change when something you believe in is threatened. When people, maybe even well-meaning people, decide that the best course of action is to take away the very thing you have worked hard to achieve. And in doing so have automatically condemned the last however many years of your working life as a failure. Some have even gone so far to label myself, my family and my colleagues as money hungry, cruel, inhumane and uncaring.

That hurts a little, especially coming from people who have never seen what I do. Or how I do it. The unknown is, if they did come and see what I do, would their opinions change? Somehow I doubt it.

We've all seen the footage. Cattle being shockingly mistreated in the Indonesian abattoirs. Sheep being dragged away and stuffed into car boots in the Middle East. I haven't heard a single person say any of that is acceptable. Yet we are all condemned for supporting the live trade.