We love our animals here at Caloundra Station and we work 365 days of the year to ensure they are well cared for and happy. We have both cattle and lamb which we grow from birth to finish for meat production and I know some of you are turning your noses up at the thought. How can the animals we live with, respect and care for be sent off the farm to end up on plates around the world and it is difficult for us it truly is. I don’t know any farmer who is cruel to their animals, whether they are for meat production, dairy products, egg production and any of the other specialty area I have not chosen to name.
I note today there is Australia wide protest to ban live export (again) I can not see how for the life of us can people keep blaming the farmer. No farmer I know is an advocate of cruelty which is why many have changed practices over the years and work hard to give the animal the best life and death possible and within their scope of best practice. Whilst protesting is a right and a great way to get your views across where is the happy medium or balance in the argument. Some of you may even ask or say that we were not affected by the ban brought on by the 2011 reaction to cruelty, but we were.
Where did all of those animals go that were bred to go overseas? they came in to the local markets and dropped the prices and contracts that were in place for those that did not export live animals. were you aware that everyday farmers were affected? Companies held farmers off contract sales so they could make twice as much money on the cattle that were being shifted from up north to the south. Whilst people were congratulating themselves on stopping the export of live animals it did nothing to endear the industry to the public nor the farmers.
Farmers all over Australia lost income and were left carrying more stock over a summer than they wanted, this was not their fault and where was the reporters and Governments during this time. They were busy showing the same acts in another country rather than showing the desperation of farmers who were only doing their jobs losing property and income. Where was the pictures or statistics of the farmers who lost everything during this time, including the suicides that occured as this may have been their only option to earn an income and it was without warning taken from them and they were left with no where to go. There are big industries over Australia like the car industry that have announced closures, the money and education being given to these employees was never offered to the farmers or workers by Governments.
Our out cry at the time was not only about the acts, but also about the lack of education and as producers every animal on anyone’s property has to be tagged, and on that tag is a PIC number (property identification number) beef, goat and lamb for traceability and not only do we have to pay for these ear tags, spend time putting them in without much stress to the animal and we also pay a levy to peak education bodies, why were they not involved before this incident? What have they done since? People have worked hard internationally to stamp it out by way of education and providing tools and equipment but to ask them to stamp it out will be a long drawn process.
We don’t want to see any animal treated badly but i would like to see the same passion put into stamping out domestic violence as there is to stop live export. if you would like to ban something come up with a solution for the farmer, we don’t grow and sell our animals ever with the intent that they will travel overseas and end up in the hands of others they may treat them badly. The supply chain may be 6 times more since leaving the farmer, yet the calls to stop the farming selling animals is loud and clear.
Not everyone wants to be vegetarian either, eating meat is a choice we are lucky to have in Australia and we know we can buy Australian meat that is humanely dealt with from start to finish. The ethical treatment of animals is a given in our lucky country so lets support those countries that need education to ensure all animals from Australia can be sent over the world and we know they will be treated in the same manner as they are here.