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.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The RH John Kreepy's new twist on Dirty Politics

(Who can I credit for this?)
[The scene - a popular Antipodean cafe. Somewhere important people go. Middle-aged Kreeyp and his first wife are regulars here.]

J Kreepy: I'm bored. I'm So Booored! When is that coffee coming? Do I have to talk to my wife to pass the time? Bored, bored, bored....Oh Look! A young perky waitress. And she has hair. I like hair. I like hair a lot. Especially long silky hair in ponytails like That Hair. I'd be so not bored if I could touch that hair. How can I touch that hair?

I know! I'm a jolly important guy who's lots of fun. I bet that woman would love it if I went and played with her hair. Who wouldn't like me playing with her hair? I'm just playing, and playing is fun.

Look! I did it! I pulled her hair (not hard of course, cause I'm just playing). I was right, that was fun.

Bet she liked it as much as I did. Hope I see her again.

[The scene - the same cafe, a few days later.]

J Kreepy: This is totes my favourite cafe now. I can get coffee and play with that really fun waitress who loves it when I pull her ponytail. Oh look, there she is!

That's so cool. I pulled her ponytail again - still really fun. She looks a bit grumpy; how cute! Bet that attention from an important guy like me made her feel happier. She knows I'm only playing. Smile, honey!

[The scene - you guessed it.]

J Kreepy:  About to make my favourite girl's day again. Sorry, no, that's not you, wifey. Where's that tantalising ponytailed charmer of mine? Looking, looking...just like an Easter Egg hunt. Can't see...oh, there she is, over on the other side of the cafe. That's OK, I've got time to go over to her - she'll appreciate that I remembered our game.

Got her! Woohoo! Whoa, she looks a bit mad. She must be having a bad day with her customers.  Hey, hon, it wasn't me, it wife who pulled your hair. Yeah, my wife, isn't that hilarious! Cheer up, it's not that bad. I will see YOU later. Ciao!

[The scene - I bet we're all wishing we were somewhere else by now, but no, the same cafe.]

J Kreepy:  Where's my waitress? I...I mean, my wife wants to pull her hair again. We all have such a lovely relationship - just like family! Looks like the ponytail is serving someone else. I'll just sneak up, slowly, slowly...TUG! HAHAHAHAHA! My wife loves pulling your hair and just can't stop!

Oops, my wife seems embarrassed. She says I should stop. Sweetie, where's your sense of humour? Actually, nobody really cares about having their hair pulled.

[The scene - seriously? How long can this go on in the same cafe?]

J Kreepy:  Do you think she sees me coming? Funny how she never serves us anymore. Oh well, it's a small cafe; she can't run forever, the little minx. Look, she's backed against the wall, that's quite exciting actually.  Aaaaaaand....gotcha!

Wow, what's with all the NOs? And what's security got to do with this?

Wifey says I should leave the poor girl alone? Self-righteous jealous moo. Why doesn't she grow a ponytail?

Hey, you over there, she really doesn't like me pulling her ponytail? What's that about? I'm a really nice guy and lots of fun! Everyone says so. Who do you think you are anyway?

Here, have some wine. Maybe it'll help you relax.

[Seriously, for the record and for when the headlines fade. This is the story involved. Key's hair stroking habit may very well be a fetish, but that can only be speculation. Without doubt, Key is abusing his position as a public figure to create an artificial intimacy he hopes to benefit from, in a manner which does not request permission or allow avoidance from his target.]

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Bee my Valentine!

Don't bee shy! (the camera loves ya)
This post will be short and sweet, like its main characters. But it won't bee a quickie.

On our driveway, two bumblebees are celebrating Valentine's Day in the best way they know how: making the bee with two backs.

So as naturally nosy primates, we took some photos. (Also available on video.)

Try another angle - beeautiful.
While Valentine's Day in New Zealand was yesterday, I prefer to beelieve there may have been extended courting - some special nectar and pollen, perhaps - and foreplay.

Clearly they have adopted the theme song "Why don't we do it the road", by the Beetles. A bit of research shows bumblebees mating on the ground is normal, but they can continue for 10 to 80 minutes!  One observer reported mating bumblebees can bee moved, so I did.

While much of the public concern over bee populations highlights honeybees, we need all pollinators much more urgently than honey.

So I hope you'll join me in wishing the happy couple a much longer and fruitful...coupling...beefore they buzz off.

Further bee puns may bee left in the comments.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Obesity: Supporting satisfaction instead of surgery

Hot news from down under - a couple of surgeons who perform bariatric (stomach-stapling) operations would like to perform more of them on us, and would like tax money to fund their work. The media is running their advertisement as if it were a public health statement.

I've battled weight problems for my adult life, and I know there is no magic bullet for maintaining a healthy weight. Neither is there a magic scalpel. Cutting open your body to reduce your stomach capacity and all that could mean for your future is not a tenable general treatment.

Battling obesity en masse

New Zealand is, like most developed countries, guilty of more reporting than acting on the growing obesity problem. While this is always a sensitive subject, a recent longterm study showed that while there are obese healthy people, they are much less likely to remain healthy over the years.

So is it true that "Surgery still remains the most capable strategy for inducing robust and long-term weight loss"? May I see the source please? The (US) National Weight Control Registry research does not mention surgery at all in their summary of how most of their participants lost long-term weight.

But I am even more interested that New Zealand's tax money supports industries that support obesity. Fatty cholesterol-rich foods like beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and dairy. "Added-value" processed foods, which take natural raw foods and package them for the highest profit and shelf life instead of fiber and nutrients. Food technology trumps food quality.

Calorie density

Why does this matter? Jeff Novick, RD, MS explains in this article and this video presentation, but in short, calorie density reigns supreme in how much people eat.

Steak doesn't fill you up like oatmeal. Potato chips won't fill you up like potatoes.

Where the money goes

So if we're going to tweak our economic contribution to solve the obesity epidemic, let's not psych everyone into thinking we have to catch up with the Aussies in dangerous life-altering surgery rates.

Let's at least stop being part of the problem, and remove tax funding from those industries harming our national health. Restrict their advertising which often reports positive health benefits or just plain fun...and often arrives in our schools to advertise to our children.

Help make healthy food cheaper, more available, and more acceptable instead.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Secondhand Smarts - community works!

I haven't posted a Secondhand Smarts update for a while, but rest assured I get so many bargains from secondhand shops, TradeMe, etc, that I can hardly keep up.

An extra special nod must go to the bargains I got at last year's school fair. OK, I put in a lot of hours at the White Elephant sale where I got the goodies, but it was a great community event and raised much needed funds for the kids' school. And hundreds of people went away happy with their bargain finds!

Community and charity work can seem thankless at times, but as well as the reality of the help you're providing, you are also making connections that can sometimes reap more tangible rewards. Sometimes you need something and someone else already has exactly what you need. Like these...

Stepping out...

The boy needed some shoes. Look what I found!

Tevas. Good as new. In the right size. For a couple of dollars!

Yeah, this attachment!
I love making frozen banana ice cream. It is pretty hard work for the S-blade on the food processor though, and we've heard that juicers and mincers do an even better job on the frozen bananas. I don't want another whole gizmo in my kitchen, but I have idly considered buying the mincer attachment for our mixer.

I almost let this amazing coincidence at the White Elephant Sale pass me by. I'd even shelved this box and moved it around a couple of times. But it wasn't until a customer said "there are bits missing from this" that we both realised it was an attachment, not a standalone machine. Just exactly what I needed for the machine we have at home, and luckily the customer didn't! $5, for an attachment retailing new for £38.

I can confirm that the banana ice cream product from the mincer is far superior - it can take the totally frozen banana chunks without strain and produce a really really cold treat instead of one that melts almost as served.

The icing on the cake

And cookies, and vegan cupcakes for the Vegan Society stall, and...

My sister's a decorating ace with all the equipment, but sometimes there's no chance to go borrowing. There were a couple of icing sets in the sale, and I knew I wanted to go home with one.

This one was pretty and compact, so it won the toss, and at $4 was quite the bargain. Especially when later at home, I found this was a collector tin retailing for $70.

Yes, there were even more bargains we got at the fair, but enough already! Secondhand is totally smart shopping.