Friday, 27 November 2015

Animal welfare

*A few thoughts on this topic ahead of Sunday's documentary about calves in NZ's dairy industry.

I despise the cruelty that I know is regularly inflicted on animals including human animals. The culprits need challenging and we should all do that, directly, as much as we dare. Cruel bastards need to be tracked down, exposed and stopped, whether they are cops, teachers, doctors, scientists, politicians or farmers.

The SAFE crew should therefore be congratulated for exposing evidence of cruelty to dairy calves. I'll look forward to hearing what DairyNZ and MPI have to say about the industry's systems for policing cruelty and expect that extra regulation might well result.

I reckon that the vast majority of dairy farmers in New Zealand would agree with me up to this point. Cow farmers generally like cows, just as teachers generally like students. Exceptions are those who should never have been in that role and those who've grown cruel over time.

In my dreams, the report would also prompt broader questions about the ethics of farming animals and indeed plants. There is a yawning chasm of space, devoid of knowledge much less understanding, between the smart and engaged early 20s that challenged me on this topic at a party recently and most of the dairy farmers I know.

* the pic is from our calving this year