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Wednesday 17 October 2012
I was asked the other day by an opponent of the live trade how I justified sending our animals overseas. They’d read this blog and formed the opinion we look after our stock, but couldn’t understand why we continue to send them in light of all the bad news stories airing about lately. This was my reply.
Glad you liked it. That site is my hobby. The way I see it is this. I've been on a farm since I was born. I'm 32. In that time I've seen sheep burned alive by bushfire, washed away and drowned by downpours, I've come across ewes with their entrails hanging out after being mauled by wild dogs. I've seen a weaner lamb still alive after having his back leg eaten by a fox. I've seen lambs picked up and dropped from heights by wedge tailed eagles, then get up and try to flee with their backs broken. I've seen sheep literally shit themselves to death from salmonella or coccidious, despite our best efforts to treat them. I've seen the fattest, most healthiest looking sheep choke on their own kidneys as their bubble up through their throats from pulpy kidney disease, caused simply by being too greedy and getting a gutsful of feed. I've seen a nanny goat being rooted to death by ten or more billy goats in the wild. Kangaroos blind from disease slowly starving as they bash themselves to bits on trees and shrubs as they try to make their way to water. I've seen hordes of emus breed up in good years, only to starve to death in bad. And I'm only relatively young, so imagine what my parents and their parents have seen. If my sheep pass out in 5 - 10 seconds or worst case a minute from a poorly executed cull or slaughter, they may not be as lucky as those killed here, but tell you what, their fate would be my 2nd choice. Just cos you die naturally, doesn't mean you die well.
And that’s it in a nutshell. Knowing what I know about sheep, if the ships were the crammed Hell holes they are claimed to be, by the time the three week journey was over, the sheep would all be dead. And no customer is going to buy dead, or half starved, stressed and sick animals, especially at the price they’d be charged for them.
Yes, I would like all stock to be stunned. But having cut a few throats myself, and witnessed more than one Muslim family kill their own animals, I don’t have a problem with it. Other may disagree, as is their right, but that’s where I stand. We raise animals knowing full well they will end up on somebodies dinner plate.
In the last 16 months of banging away at the keyboard, not one person has been able to name me one other country that spends money on trying to improve welfare practises in overseas countries. 109 countries export live animals.But it seems more and more likely that the only one actively doing anything to better things over there is going to be the one not allowed to send anymore. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.
Give me half a day with some football footage and I could make you a video claiming that football (or any sport) is a brutal, horrific game that results in countless injuries and even the occasional death. None of the footage would be fake, and Michael Barlows broken leg last year would be the Pièce de résistance. Add in some sad, scary music, a few disgruntled ex-footballers and whammo. Who knows, I might even win a Walkley.