Friday, December 18, 2015

The SAFEty of New Zealand

Can you believe it? SAFE are threatening us all with further ads and actions like that one in the picture if the MPI and/or the government don't do what they want about this "animal abuse".

Who do they think they are? Our government does fine if everyone would trust them and leave them alone. Anyway, here's a roundup of what the country has to say about this so-called animal activism!
  • These naive treasonous economic terrorists haven't thought for a second about what happens if everyone goes vegan but are deviously planning to ruin NZ and then move to their second Hawaii homes.
  • All the farm animals will die off because they can't raise their young without our help, while overrunning the entire planet due to uncontrolled breeding. And the farmers will never work again, because they have no other skills and nobody has ever retrained for a second career.
  • The filming was illegal and staged, and they should have immediately gone onto the farms, stopped the workers, and rescued the animals while they were being abused on hidden unmanned cameras. That would have been legal, right?
  • We already know for a fact there are only a few who abuse animals (real farmers hug their cows!) so why didn't they immediately hand over their first footage instead of looking for more widespread evidence to selfishly grab headlines? This is all about their ego. And bringing down NZ farming by making us all go vegan. But mostly their ego.
  • They only saw 0.000001% of NZ farms and let's face it, to us townies all farms look alike anyway. It was probably just one farm. And it was staged. With animals that "sanctuary owners" pretend to "rescue"! Because that's just how much sanctuary owners hate farmers...and animals.
  • Why didn't they send their evidence to the SPCA who everyone knows is the agency for, duh, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or even our police who are animal experts and would have done something right away, instead of the MPI? Who's the MPI??
  • Why did they go to the media instead of waiting for our government to do its job properly? The media is only supposed to be for sports and the movie star news. They just wanted more media attention and donations to waste on paying salaries. Everyone knows that only a few abuse animals, so why did the media even air it? Nobody wants to know if a few people abuse animals - just keep quiet and report it to the SPCA!
  • We'd be a third-world country without dairy exports. Why did they take an ad in the UK? What's the UK got to do with the NZ dairy industry? Hello, they're different countries, stupid SAFE. Our PM is even helping us take the Union Jack off our flag.
  • The filming of abuse by transport workers and a slaughterhouse worker was clearly an attack by SAFE on all dairy farmers! So those great dairy farmers struck like a cornered snake against SAFE in self-defense, pointing out it wasn't them on the video that wasn't said to be them. We haven't heard from the transport workers or slaughterhouse workers against SAFE yet - they're probably still on shift trying to feed their families on those casual rates instead of browsing the web or making a FB page.
  • Do they only care about cows? What about the pigs and chickens? If they really cared, they'd have campaigns for them too! Then that would really be attacking the NZ economy! Good thing SAFE won't be a charity for much longer - we have a petition.
  • Mmmmm bacon.
So what's this rubbish about no-cholesterol milk and meat that doesn't even come from animals?

Is that from SAFE too? Someone had better warn the farmers.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mother's best old-fashioned vegan oatmeal porridge recipe

The best thing about porridge is that you can add anything!

The best thing about becoming a mother is that you learn to go with the flow...

Morning Oatmeal 
(or whenever my day allows time for eating with utensils)

  1. Boil the kettle.
  2. Take kids' leftover bowl with some extra soymilk and cold cereal sloshing in the bottom.
  3. Add random crumbs from yesterday's bags of kids' car snacks
  4. Add organic wholegrain oats
  5. OK, ran out of wholegrain oats. Add some instant oatmeal and some of that cornmeal I bought months ago when I was going to start making fresh cornbread.
  6. Add some raisins, or shred some dates with bare hands, or just decide the soymilk will be sweet enough.
  7. Cinnamon? Ginger? Nice if you have a few extra seconds.
  8. Pour boiled water over the ingredients in the bowl.
  • Cooking time - 1 shower, 5 answered emails and 1 shopping list (don't forget organic wholegrain oats!) 
  • If in a super hurry, just add more soymilk to cool and eat right away as limp muesli
Bon appetit! Remember while eating that these are the best years of your life...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

5 upsides of the Farmwatch expose

It's very easy to get caught up the immediate anger, denial, and polarisation when whistleblowers expose what we'd prefer not to see. Social criticism can be violently unpopular, and "killing the messenger" is a cliche for a very good reason.

But undeniably, whistleblowers get us talking about the important stuff instead of sitcoms and sports. No other way works like it. And beneath the painful arguing, this is our common ground...
1. Compassion

New Zealanders love animals, and we don't want to see what we all had to see. Nobody. The farmers, the businesses, the animal activists, the consumers. Not even the perpetrator of the worst videoed violence would enjoy that footage. Animal industry workers have a stressful, traumatic job that is generally insecure and badly paid, and as such are another victim of the system, as well as being the convenient scapegoat for the offenses.

2. Public pressure

The government and MPI now know without a doubt that New Zealanders want action for better treatment for farm animals. This is the only sort of pressure that really works. Simply reporting the abuses was not working.

3. Awareness

Many more people, including townies, now know the open secret of what happens during industrial farming to produce milk for the shops. Don't they say education is key? Of course it doesn't have to be this bad. Let's look for short and long-term solutions together to acknowledge that animals as economic objects are at risk.

4. Memories

So many people from rural New Zealand backgrounds have shared their memories of how farming was back on their family farms and how unbelievable it is that these traumatic scenes could be widespread. For better or for worse, caring for their animals is the common theme.

5. Vision of the future

New Zealand's economy doesn't need to depend on industrial dairy so desperately that we accept  welfare compromises for financial success. Even if New Zealanders didn't care about animals (we do!), we'd be wiser to diversify our rich land into more sustainable operations.

The future could be cruelty-free, if we decide we want it.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Shocking abuse of New Zealand dairy calves

Shocking footage, as published on TV. And further unaired footage, from Farmwatch.

Of course, it's only shocking if you haven't been paying attention. For decades, investigative psychic geniuses, I mean, animal activists like those at Farmwatch always manage to find the only tiny .0001% of farms where terrible, horrible, no-good very bad things are happening.

When the government organisations like MPI in New Zealand somehow can't find them. Or do anything about them.

The news has gone worldwide. And the reactions come flying. All versions of:
"Please please don't make me feel guilty about this."
Everyone wants to blame somebody else for those adorable horrible dead-eyed baby animals.

Sick twisted individuals

Those 99.99999999% of dairy farmers who naturally love their animals flap their hands accusingly at the transport operators who have let them down. Who knew that animal transport workers leave the calves for hours at the side of the road? Or fail to cuddle the baby calves gently into padded baskets in the backs of trucks?

Something must be done to those bad people! (And now it will, thanks to the media attention.)

And the farmers post kissy pictures of themselves with animals...who are still alive and conscious enough to enjoy their photo op.

Biased troublemakers

Actually, it's the activists' fault, for publicising the covert pictures. That's illegal! Fonterra is "very disappointed". No, it's the TV station's fault, for not presenting "the other side". After all, it's not fair to just show the tiny tiny minority of bad stuff found by the investigative psychic geniuses.

Blinkered consumers 

Fact: the dead baby calves have always been a part of your glass of milk. The money from the sale of the baby calves is just as much a part of dairy farmers' shaky profit margin as the highly-publicised milk powder price. And where there's profit margin, there's a margin to cut - i.e., the time spent getting those pesky calves into those trucks, and into the slaughterhouse machines, as quickly as possible. Having the calves reduced to weak and unresisting objects is good for the economy.

You know what they say in show biz. Never work with animals or children. Baby animals must be the worst.
This is the price of your cheap milk and cheese.

Now we see the violence inherent in the system. And it's ugly. Luckily, there are so many options instead of cows' milk.

Friday, August 14, 2015

TPPA Day: Public protest may be hazardous to your health!

Trending and apparently news to some politicians - the US Consulate regularly warns citizens in foreign countries about large organised political actions. I've received a generous handful of these in recent years. I worry very little about it.

This is the country that invented "those warnings" on product labels.
  • On a hair dryer: Do not submerge in water. 
  • On a bag of peanuts: Contains nuts.

In the latest example I received, gone viral in the news:  [translated loosely]

The U.S. Consulate General in Auckland alerts U.S. Citizens that [TPP march is happening] [Lots of scary people][Stay away or you might hurt]

[We care about y'all. Be careful out in those foreign places]
Contrary to popular comments, it's not an indication of an organised police backlash or terrorist action. At least, it wasn't the 6 times before when I got a warning about dangerous protests. But it is beyond hypocritical.

Is it the cop or am I the one who's really dangerous?

The New Zealand police are no angels. But let's get real. For 2015 so far:
  • 8000+ US gun deaths
  • 700+ US people killed by police
And they're sending us a warning?

I reckon I'll be pretty safe today, even should I be in the middle of Queen St in today's protest, dressed in a prescription drug costume (or draped fetchingly in a new flag design) and waving a big banner with TPPA GO AWAY!

Society and culture finalist: Fairfax photojournalist Lawrence Smith was on the front line when protestors from Auckland Action Against Poverty rushed the police barricade at Sky City, in Auckland, where Prime Minister John Key was announcing sweeping budget changes.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother Nature Sends a Pink Slip

Destroying Mother Nature by William Orihama
In honour of Mother's Day, here's a little gem of a poem by Marilou Awiakta that deserves a wider audience.

 To: Homo Sapiens
 Re: Termination

    My business is producing life.
    The bottom line is
    you are not cost effective workers.
    Over the millennia, I have repeatedly
    clarified my management goals and objectives.
    Your failure to comply is well documented.

    It stems from your inability to be a team player:
        * you interact badly with co-workers
        * contaminate the workplace
        * sabotaged the machinery
        * hold up production
        * consume profits
    In short, you are a disloyal species.

    Within the last decade
     I have given you three warnings:
        * made the workplace too hot for you
        * shaken up your home office
        * utilized plague to cut back personnel
     Your failure to take appropriate action
      has locked these warnings into the Phase-Out
      mode, which will result in termination

                             No Appeal.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Vegan burger at McD's - Lest we forget

News flash on the local Auckland vegan network: you can get vegan burgers from McDonald's now! In some very limited outlets, you can use a touchscreen to create your own gourmet burger. Guacamole, mushrooms, tortilla strips, lettuce, tomato and tomato and chilli relish - sounds delicious!

So is this news to be celebrated? Is this a step in the right direction for vegans everywhere and time for a stampede to try the new offering to support McD's vegan efforts?

Yeah, nah. Time to watch (or re-watch) McLibel.
  • Remember how crappy McDonald's is as an employer to vulnerable young and poor people. Anti-union barely begins to describe it.
  • Remember how awful they are to their own franchisees.
  • Remember how they target children in their advertising.
  • Remember how they pressure their way into neighbourhoods and globalise the food economy, with their power undercutting business from local food outlets where the profits support local families. 
  • Remember how they consistently resist accountability from their animal product suppliers to be humane, sustainable, or even sanitary. 
  • Remember how their business and food philosophy is as anti-compassion as it is possible to get.
(Source: McSpotlight )

Lest we forget

Yes, I have taught my daughter to boo when we pass a McDonald's. I can't forget what I learned during the McLibel case. Yes, they are worse than other fast-food restaurants and supermarkets, if only because their size allows them to be.

No, I wouldn't cross the road to get FREE vegan food from them. Corporate criminals like Nestle and McDonald's bank on most of us forgetting their crimes. They're right.

Yes, it matters where you spend your money - you are voting to support that business's growth. There are lots of other nonvegan restaurants where you can already celebrate vegan options that have been available for years. Hooray!

Obquote from The Princess Bride

In the words of the (apparently) immortal Westley: "My brains, his steel, and your strength against sixty men, and you think a little head-jiggle is supposed to make me happy?" McDonald's head-jiggle may be in the vegan direction, but they're still McDonald's.