I know, you savvy creature, you'll see right away this is the first blog entry on my website. I used to blog on other sites...but then I thought, that's a bit dumb. I'll do it here and anyone who happens to be interested will come across it. That's you. Stay right there.
This is going to bring you up to date with the Shipping Project, my radical idea to go to sea with thousands of animals, and see for myself what the live export industry is really all about. Let's face it. We're not going to start needing less food...barring some unforeseeable disaster which wipes half the humans of the face of the planet. There I go dreaming.
Oh! And record it for a radio documentary.
I'm not going to lie to you. This project is turning out to be one stress after another. Originally I had thought it would be pretty easy to get on an export ship, but it hasn't been easy at all. I thought it would be a breeze to get some opinion pieces from both sides of the Live Export Debate (I capitalise those words because it is practically a noun these days), but people have been ridiculously reluctant to talk about their feelings on the record (the reason for their reticence might become apparent in about two paragraphs' time).
Where I have tried to open intelligent discussion with people on Facebook and Twitter (I know, I know), I have really been abused. I'm not kidding. I was even BLOCKED from posting on a FB page, and I didn't even say anything provocative. BLOCKED. I didn't even know you could be blocked, such was my naivety.
I have seen people post messages about raping one another over this issue. To me, I'm just not going to go and rape someone whose opinion I don't dig. Hey, bank robber - you're getting raped. It's weird. When did this trend begin? I think the recent US Presidential Election and all the rape rape rape conversations have put holes in people's brains. Frankly, there is a lot of bullshit coming out of the minds of people on either side of the floor. I wonder at times if there aren't some knobs just posting vitriolic comments to get people fired up for their own amusement.
Then I got a lesson in how people run their Facebook pages. When I say lesson it was really more like a punch in the face. I had a lovely little spy send me some screen captures of private FB conversations which showed people admitting to deleting posts that weren't in harmony with their agendas. That was depressing. I like to think when I read a page, even if it is just opinion posting, that I am getting all the posts. But no. That really put a dampener on FB for me...and you know, it used to be my favourite thing.
I have had loads of information sent to me from all sorts of people, which has been awesome. Some people are really very cool. That's one lucky thing.
But that's not even the half of the stress. The Royal Geographical Society and BBC Radio 4 have short-listed the project, and I have to write a long rationale for it (practically yesterday). In it I have to convince them that this project is still sort of viable, even though I have no 100%-solid leads right now.
I've been equipment checking, fact checking, writing out budgets and then revising them, getting abused by almost anyone I talk to (if you haven't abused me, thank you - you know who you are. All three of you, I remember you in my prayers at night. Ok maybe not...I went a bit too far, even for me). I've also been reading every article, blog, and comment I can find on the subject, I've visited feedlots, and yapped a lot (which I don't mind frankly but you'd never be able to tell). I even got pooped on by a steer. Don't say I'm not committed.
I got close to shelving the project, then I thought about the animals and the people who are caught up in this debate. The animals which are going to enter the food chain no matter how vehemently anyone protests it...and the people who live in countries so over-populated they can not grow enough of any kind of food to literally stay alive in their own habitat. That's why I still want to go ahead with it. I want to tell you what actually happens in this process. (I might add Australia has the highest standards for the export of livestock anywhere in the world...I'm not saying they're travelling by luxury liner, I just don't know what highest standards means in the scheme of things, but that's what I intend to find out).
So I'm booked in to do my stockhandler's ticket, which means I am legally able to travel on an export ship. I'm sure I'll come away from that with a good understanding of how not to get trampled to death by marauding cattle, and if what's been stuck in my eye for the last year is actually a case of pink eye.
Oh if you doubt people's passion on this subject, I'm giving you this to ponder.
WARNING - this video gave me a mild nervous condition. Oh and also he swears a lot.
Public Lacks Farming Insight.
From Weekly Times Now:
THE public needs to put its money where its mouth is, or farming will continue to suffer, writes KATE DOWLER.
The Australian public needs to put its money where its mouth is, or stop demanding cheap, high-quality food, healthy environments and ever-more out of over-worked farmers.
Read the full story here.
© Geire Kami. All Rights Reserved. Australia 2017.