Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cry. Scream. Vomit.

First of all, a dietary plain language statement from moi: I was vegetarian for a several years there in my teens and early twenties. It wasn't for animal rights, although I did listen to The Smiths a bit, and as a generation X-er I can at least attest to the fact it wasn't for reasons of "sustainability". No. It started as a way to impress a guy. He now runs a grass-roots record label specialising in Jamaican music, has a collection of questionable tattoos, and yes, I would probably still sleep with him given half a chance. In fact, he pursued me for a time there, many years ago, and as part of my cunning plan of reciprocal seduction, I plied him with a particularly lethal home-made dope "chocolate" cake before inviting him into my bed. He passed out on the couch. I guess you could say he's the one that got away.
Thankfully, before I could become a complete wanker, a questionably tattooed lesbian flatmate coaxed me off the vegetarian wagon a fews years later with rump steak, after a particularly bad hangover. Then several successive pregnancies were the last nail in that dietary coffin. In fact, I am cooking a lamb roast as we speak. I also grew up in the beef cattle country of Australia. I, unlike many people in this country, have seen (in real life) cattle being slaughtered, and then eaten their meat.

Now let us examine the recent live-export cattle ban.

For those who have been living under a rock in Australia, or are American and haven't followed the latest Gillard government S.N.A.F.U., the abridged version runs along these lines: Two blonde women from an animal rights group filmed horrendous cruelty to Brahman cattle in a couple of abattoirs in Indonesia prior to their slaughter and a news story was aired. It was horrible. The cattle were live exports from nothern Australia. This apparently made it our fault. The viewing public freaked the fuq out. The government freaked the fuq out. Overnight all live exports were suspended. Beef cattle farmers freaked the fuq out (being several million dollars in the hole overnight will do that to a person). Indonesia freaked the fuq out (losing a big whack of your national dietary protein overnight will do that to a person). Everyone was freaking the fuq out.
To cut a long story short, the Government realised they had, ahem, porked the poodle on this one and backflipped, however the economic effects of this aren't over by a long shot.

Now, on to some hypocrisy worse than my past case of vegetarianism:

There are better ways to slaughter animals. Just ask Temple Grandin if you want a pragmatic approach. However, insisting that the worlds most populous majority muslim nation adhere to the principal of stunning prior to slaughter, when we allow exemptions for Halal and Kosher slaughter here in Australia, is somewhat hypocritical.

It gets better. Not only do we allow exemptions to be granted for ritual slaughter here in Australia, we also allow for wholesale extermination of animals that we deem to be "pest" species. Apparently, poisoning foxes, shooting feral cats, fumigating fluffy bunny babies in their nests and unleashing biological agents of death on same, are OK. Even The Greens think that's OK, in fact, its part of their platform, right under the bits about banning live exports and circus animals, they just say it should be done more "humanely":
5.the most humane and effective means available to be used in the control of introduced and pest species, including humane population management methods.
So what does the Department of Primary Industries say about about animal welfare in relation to a "Pest Animal Strategy"?:
In general, the National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare has advocated the use of techniques that result in high level and long lasting control, therefore reducing the need to frequently apply controls.

Oh, well thats alright then. Pass the myxomatosis

We also do not require stunning to be performed on wild game prior to slaughter, which means Skippy can get shot in the head from the back of a truck while being chased by dogs, and the little Joey in its pouch "humanely" terminated, all in the interests of supplying the pet meat trade.
And bright sparks, yes, even in government ministries concerned with climate change, have at various times advocated the shooting of everything from wild buffalo to camels to stop them farting. Seriously. Considering that part of the complaint in relation to the Indonesian abbattoirs was that the footage showed animals being slaughtered in front of the other animals, I find it hypocritical in the extreme that the same people wouldn't bat an eyelid about shooting a camel from a helicopter, in front of its mates. Like we do regularly with wild horses and pigs. The link supplied mentions that the RSPCA even monitors the aerial shooting cull of the horses to ensure they are shot "humanely", yet puts spokespeople on national television to state their position on mandatory stunning of cattle prior to slaughter for other sovereign nations.

I will now finish with the most blatent hypocrisy of all. So much uproar over the treatment of Australian animals in Indonesia, leading to the (temporary) suspension of live exports, and yet this is a country that executes Australian citizens by firing squad. I don't see the federal government immediately suspending package tours to Bali.

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