Minister for other animals

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Written by:

Back in the fifties and sixties my father used to say that if you want to eat meat then you ought to go to the freezing works to see what happens to the animals.  He had worked on farms so had some knowledge of this although I doubt he ever went into an abattoir or any freezing works.

At home chickens and ducks were both killed and cooked for meals.  I never saw one being beheaded but do remember that sack that covered my father’s lap as he plucked the feathers from the bird.  Our meals were typical of those times, meat sometimes our own, and three veges.

The great French writer, Emile Zola did extensive research including a trip down a working mine at Denain before he wrote his 1885 novel Germinal about the appalling conditions in a mining community in Northern France.  However the thing about this novel which I remember more clearly than anything is the life of the horse who works in the mine carting coal.  This poor creature never ever sees the light of day, it remains at the bottom of the pit.

The endless use of animals for our ‘entertainment’ at things such as rodeos and greyhound racing which has the ridiculous motto  ‘we love our dogs, they love to race.’

The racing of horses, who are hobbled so they can only run a particular way has only ever been about money as has tongue tying of racing horses.

Those men who are on the fishing boats showing off their great prowess using a rod and sometimes other equipment to lure a fish on to a hook and ‘playing’ with its life sometimes for hours.  Before showing how clever he has been.

Cows who give birth to their young who are taken away from them shortly after birth so the cow can supply the milk for humans and not their young.  The appalling conditions that cows endure in the winter time, sometimes up to their hocks in mud.

Foetal calf blooding, where a pregnant cow is slaughtered, her calf removed, and the blood of her unborn calf is then drained with a needle inserted into the heart without pain relief.  Serum is produced from the blood of unborn calves which is then used for cell culture.

Those ‘over bred’ bulls one sees in the newspaper advertisements that are some farmers pride and joy.  They are never ever able to mount a cow because they have been bred to a ridiculous size and their semen is the only thing we want from them and that can be done artificially.

Pigs who must remain in a farrowing crate for the first month of their piglets birth where they cannot even turn around.  This is said to be in order not to crush their young when they are feeding.  Apparently this is not a huge issue in the free-range raising of sows and boars where they live outside for their whole life but are provided with shelter and protection from the elements.

Calves, cows, heifers and bulls (collectively known as cattle) are one of the main types of animals used for science in NZ.  In 2020 alone, close to 47,000 cattle were used for research, testing or teaching purposes.  The year before was even worse, with over 81,000 of these animals being used.1

I am not a vegan and eat meat perhaps 3 – 4 times a year and if I have cooked it I would be sure to have purchased a cut that came from a free range and organically raised animal, where perhaps I thought the animal had had a reasonable life.

We have numerous Ministers in the Beehive for humans who regard themselves as the superior animal.  It is well past time that we had a Minister for all of the other animals.

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About Insight Aotearoa

Most of the blogs published here will either respond to initiatives elsewhere or will be ‘newsmaking’. Some will also be reflective in more general terms. The blogs will be topical and interesting. I like to inject some humour into my blogs.

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