Living With the Enemy

Now that uni exams are over I’ve been able to dust off the lap top and write again, its actually been that long since I’ve written on The Farming Game that I can’t remember the last time I wrote a blog. So I think I’ll kick things off with an SBS TV show that I watched on Wednesday night.

“Living with the Enemy” is a six episode TV series that wrapped up on Wednesday night, each week it featured two people from opposing sides of an issue who had to live at each others house and enjoy their favourite activities for five days before swapping. The latest and final episode was on hunting and featured the farmer, professional shooter and hunter Steve Lee along side Felicity from Animal Liberation. And while this may not be directly related to agriculture the episode really highlighted the issues with trying to show someone the facts when they are so emotionally driven.

I felt that Steve did a great job explaining to Felicity and her crew the role that hunters play along with why we hunt and what we get from hunting. I did however find a few of his comments a bit rude but after watching the episode again I realised he was just trying laugh his way out of an awkward and intense situation. He gave the experience all he could and even took part in a Animal Liberation protest while wearing one of their shirts, which is more than a lot of us would of done.

Felicity on the other hand didn’t really give it all she could and let her intense views block her from fully taking part in the experience or understand what a hunt was really about. The entire episode she blocked and protested everything that was put forward to her with the view that she was right and there was no compromise. I did find it ironic that when she stated that it would be hard to show Steve their point of view because of his religious views.This just highlighted to me the how difficult it is to debate with who are this narrow minded and difficulties we face as an industry because of them.

I highly recommend watching the episode available through the link below.

Living With the Enemy

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What Is Going On?

WARNING CONTAINS RANT

Yes that’s right I’m sorry I’m doing this, I do try and keep the blog level and free of opinion and full of facts but the media during the last couple of weeks has lead me to this. We’ve got drones in the air, rangers calling for bullet proof vests, undercover activists and glass in gumboots, honestly what the hell is going on? has the country just lost its mind?

Lets start with the drone, Animal Liberation has just spent $14,000 on a new drone to spy on farms to certify organic and free range statuses as well look for breaches of Animal Welfare so they can report them to the RSPCA. For a start I think that’s its just a complete waste of money, a grab for headlines and probably Australia’s most expensive clay pigeon. My biggest fear with them flying drones over farms and around stock is that they’ll get a lot of footage of stressed stock and use it against us, not because stock is stressed because of poor Animal Welfare but because some bright spark is dangling a drone on top of them to check for stress and AW issues, but they won’t let couple of facts won’t get in the way of a good story. Also $14,000 is a lot of money to spend on something that won’t necessarily improve anything, so wouldn’t putting it towards fixing a issue that has already been identified be a better use for the money?

Another thing that was making headlines this week was park rangers calling for bullet proof vests to issued for when the National Parks are opened for hunting. Now I believe that no matter what a persons personal view of hunting is there is no need for bullet proof vests to be issued to park rangers as it is completely irrational and nothing more than a head line grabber. Statistically shooting is a very safe sport between 1997 and 1999 16 people died in accidental shootings while in 2012 284 people drowned, yet no one wants it banned and it shouldn’t be people should be able to have the freedom to swim if they want to just as qualified people should be allowed to hunt if they so choose. I firmly believe that if parks are opened up to hunters it will benefit pest control measures already in place and will be able to be carried out without risk to park staff, visitors or other hunters.

While on the topic of hunting the activist group Coalition Against Duck Shooting or CADS sent under cover activists complete with shotguns into the wetlands this year to monitor the duck  hunting. Again is this really necessary? Isn’t this just taking things too far and where do they draw the line?

Today I read a press release from the Victorian Farmers Federation after the link was posted on twitter (http://www.vff.org.au/media_centre/detail.php?id=1502&order=0) which described how a Victorian egg producer was raided by activists which left glass from a broken bottle in a row of Gumboots. It is just simply dangerous not only to the farmer but employees and potentially the farmers children, what drives people to do that? There is no reason to try and physically harm a person just because you may disagree with what they do or how they do it, I also wonder how these groups are meant to be taken seriously if they are going to about breaking into farms and booby trapping peoples work wear.  At what point will the line be drawn? How long till someone gets hurt in one of these raids gone wrong or in a trap left by them? And on a very serious note if a activist injured themselves on one of these raids would the farmer be liable?

Again I’m sorry but I couldn’t help myself these activist are just going too far into the extreme zone, next week I go on uni break for two weeks so I’ll be back to work right in the heart of the busy picking season. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some more pictures of the pickers at work and I might even be able get inside  a cotton gin so I can show you all what happens to the cotton once it has left the field.