About Farming Ahead of the Curve

This blog will share farming stories from our family farmer Clover Hill Dairies. What you will discover however is that farming today is so much more that growing food and fibre. By opening the door to my role in our family business I am hoping you will gain greater insights into the passion and committment of the people and the places behind the land that produces our food and hands that grow it

The world is so confused about sustainability and what it really takes to deliver it

I have been meaning to write a blog post about the proliferation of the ongoing growth of what I call little golden booking farming mentality. This week I was spurned into action when a colleague emailed me this link. As you can see the dairy industry isn’t the only one on their radar. They also comment on the beef, fish industries et al under the Hungry for Info tab.

Its a beautiful website, obviously started by some very passionate people doing some great things.  This initiative also has some very credible people backing it as do a number of people who promote similar farming enterprises. I have no problem at all with people who want to farm using these philosophies but I want to use this post to debunk some of the very naive thinking that underpins this ethos and makes me really cranky by promoting it by deriding large scale farming practices

Lets start with sustainable intensification which underpins Clover Hill Dairies farming practices. Like it or not ( emotively calling some types of sustainable intensification ‘factory farming’ ) sustainable intensification IS the best farming practice for the planet. Ensuring that it is a good outcome for animals relies not on the concept but the people in the business. To get the best outcomes for animals everyone in the system from management to staff have to be totally committed to best practice animal husbandry and well being.  And yes having been there done that you have to be very dedicated indeed to closing the loop to get the best outcomes for the environment. BTW I am confident from what I have seen the majority of farmers are

IMG_3411

Clover Hill’s message… intensified farming and the environment can happily coexist .. leaving an impression of farming as consumers would like it to be: productive, environmentally sustainable and picturesque. Matt Cawood The Land

The reasons sustainable farming delivers the best outcomes for the planet are explained very well  by Jude Capper in my post on Little Golden Book farming.

Explaining it is not always easy and I recently gave a presentation to the Young Farming Champions to start the conversation and workshop sustainable farming concepts with the help of one of Australia’s leading marketing gurus to enable the team to clearly and simply share what it takes to sustainably farm in the 21st century with school students

Here it is my presentation

 

Slide2

Sustainability definition from the heart

Slide1

Triple bottom line

Slide3

My favourite triple bottom line definition

Slide4

This slide is from the marketing guru’s presentation – suggesting we replace responsive with proactive

Slide11

Australian farmers are sustainable farming trailblazers. They are very successfully doing what every person on  the planet should be doing ie ‘ doing more with less’

Slide10

For farmers MORE means producing more food and fibre. Less means using less natural resources

Why is this so important

Slide12

Because we only have one planet and our natural resources are shrinking. Scaringly on the opposite end of the spectrum 158 more mouths to feed are born every minute. 154 of them in developing countries

Slide13

In 2010 globally we are consuming enough resources for one and a half planets. In Australia we are chewing up the equivalent of resources for two planets.

It is obvious this NOT sustainable and as this excellent slide (courtesy of Rabobank) clearly show we need to rapidly reduce out use of natural resources

Why are Aussie farmers leading the way –  FYI these stats are via NFF see here

Slide14

In 1950 when cars looked like this and farmers drove tractors like this I Australian farmer fed 20 people

Slide15

In 1970 when cars looked like this and farmers drove tractors like this 1 Australian farmer fed 200 people

Slide16

In 2014 when cars look like this and farmers have technology that drives tractors 1 Australian farmer feeds 600 people (Note 1 American farmer feeds 170 people)

Yet there are a growing number of people like Sustainable Table that truly believe ( sadly ) that we can feed the world by farming like we did in the 50’s. As I said earlier I have no problem at all with people choosing to farm in this way ( would love to give it a go myself)  and there is definitely a demographic of people who can afford to pay top dollar ( and so they should ) for produce grown this way

But we cannot feed the world by everyone farming this way. We just don’t have enough land, water and energy and I implore the people backing little golden book initiatives and farming practices to STOP telling people you can. Its wrong and its dangerous

People have every right to ask questions about the technology and science that allows our farmers to feed 600 people. All I ask is that you make sure you are fully informed and not basing your decisions on emotion alone

Technology and science mean large scale farmers can

  1. Grow more crop on less land
  2. Get more crop per drop of water
  3. More Kg of beef per beast
  4. More kg of wool per sheep
  5. More pasture per hectare
  6. Graze more cows per hectare
  7. Produce more milk per cow
  8. Use less fertilizer per crop
  9. Use less pesticide per crop
  10. Less water per litre of milk

All of these outcomes are good for the planet.Slide17

The majority of farmers producing more with less is the only road to sustainability. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about large scale commercial agriculture and agriculture has a lot of work to do to ensure the community is informed and comfortable with modern farming practices. May we always refrain from promoting what we do by deriding other farming practices,

Lets start by throwing our support behind all the wonderful Australian farmers using diverse farming systems, small and big who wake up every day looking for ways to do it better

BTW

Interesting recent article here asking the question How Long Do We Have Until We Exhaust All Of Our Resources? and very very worryingly coming up with the answer just a few decades.

Some further thoughts from Jude Capper Beef is killing the Planet and Elvis is Riding a Rainbow Belching Unicorn 

and I love and applaud this speech from President Obama on Climate Change 

 

 

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Agriculture time to put your best foot forward

Recently I gave a presentation on Sustainability and very proudly used the dairy industry’s definition as the benchmark

“Our vision for sustainability is to enhance livelihoods, improve wellbeing and reduce our environmental impact so that Australia’s dairy industry is recognised worldwide as a responsible, responsive and prosperous producer of healthy food”
Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework

My presentation was followed by a presentation from one of Australia’s leading marketing gurus and when she put up this slide she challenged the dairy industry to review their definition quoting Seth Godin

Seth Godin

The light when on and I thought how right is she.  I am reminded everyday how too often  the dairy industry and agriculture for that matter fails to be on the front foot. We are at least less reactive and more responsive but how many times do we take the lead.

And there is no better example than the way we market our milk.

These days thanks to twitter I don’t need to read the papers from front to back as I have a number of very astute Twitter followers who can read my mind and share with me newspaper articles they think will be of interest.

Yesterday this story from well known dairy journalist Andrew Marshall lobbed into my twitter feed Milk’s Local Brand Push. It wasn’t until I got to Mike Logan’s comments and thought at least somebody gets it

Deja Vu. It was at least twelve years ago that I sat around the table with the marketing team at Dairy Farmers head office workshopping the latest ideas in milk packaging and labelling. At the table was also the bright mind that was Ed Geldard  who was sadly killed in a plane crash in 2007. Dairy Farmers was in the middle of a logo change and a total makeover of their packaging and they were keen for my input. Their research had shown that it might be a great idea to put farmers on the packaging. I remember sitting there thinking that sounds pretty logical cant believe somebody hasn’t done it before. My feedback was I suggested they go one step further and also include farmer stories and market some regional milk.

I was subsequently mortified when I saw what they had in mind. Yes they were going to put a farmer on the pack but not his face his back. After a while they took the plunge and introduced the world to their farmer Martin Hodge but no way in the world would they even think about regionally branded milk.

There were plenty of farmers at that time who had the same idea about putting farmers on the label and marketing and selling regionally branded milk. After talking to Dairy Farmers for a few years trying in vain to get them to launch a NSW south coast brand of milk  a group of their gusty farmers started their own processing plant and did it themselves . Wow did Dairy Farmers come down hard on them. South Coast Milk also had the hide to put a farmer on their pack and Dairy Farmers threatened to sue them. Twelve years later its now the ‘in thing’ to put farmers on the pack, put their stories on the back and do regionally branded milk and in the main what a giant waste of time and effort it is

Due to a new role from time to time I find myself in Woolies gazing at milk fridges. Its always the same the shelves are half empty, plenty of Woolies brand everywhere and ten minutes required to find the brand I am looking for.

Empty Shelves in Woolworths

As you can see because of the way the shelves are tilted (see picture below) to encourage the bottle to move forward it is extremely hard to see the label.

Whose milk is this

The company as you can see below who have done it the best are very obviously A2.

A2 milk in Woolworth fridge

Dairy companies today have to be very astute indeed with their labelling especially with the 3 litre pack size aimed at families and in a lot of cases the 2 litre pack.

You may think my post harsh but if you were a dairy company and the shelves you were selling your best selling brands from look like this.

Whose milk is this

Where would you put your brand?. I myself would definitely leave the home brand label where it is

The sunny side and the dark side of modern technology

TrollCartoon

I was born with club feet and very poor eyesight and serious depth of vision issues and not a week goes by where I am not grateful that the miracles of modern medicine allowed me to look  ‘normal’ and have very few restrictions on what I can and cant do. I often wonder how I would have coped if I had lived say 150 years ago.

This is a truly inspirational TED talk by Maysoon Zayid called  I got 99 problems… palsy is just one.  Like Maysoon I wasn’t teased at school and I can only remember being called Four Eyes once

Living in a world where medical miracles happen everyday, modern technology has also opened the door to to give some truly sick people a vehicle to spread their sinister disease.

Listen to what Maysoon has to say about social media –  the truly frightening world where faceless people can be as disgusting and heartless as far as their sick minds will take them

This is a wonderful funny thought provoking video. I loved it. You will too. Beware you maybe reduced to tears

Thanks Alison Fairleigh for introducing Maysoon to me. See Alison’s blog here

Shaking my head today Murray Goulburn Whose bright idea was this?

Fascinated by this story about the background behind what has to be one of the most poorly timed bizarre advertising campaign ever from Murray Goulburn (MG)

Via Mumbrella

Devondale rivals presented as fools in suits in new fresh milk push

Devondale takes aim at its corporate competitors as it makes its first foray into the fresh milk sector, with its latest campaign depicting its rivals as fools in suits.

The campaign ‘Takeover’, created by DDB Melbourne,  highlights Devondale as a farmer-owned business through a portrayal of how ‘corporate’ types operate a dairy. The ads show men in suits struggle to herd cattle with a mercedes and then milk them. It ends with the tagline “Some businesses have no business making your milk”.

Firstly lets look at poor timing. Never before has it been so imperative that MG be on good terms with their fellow processors as according to the Australian Financial Review (AFR) MG’s Sydney factory that will process NSW dairy farmers milk to fill their contract for Coles stores is

at least a month late and $30 million over budget

And even more catastrophic (according to AFR )

is that MG’s inability  to supply milk is leaving Coles scrambling to find milk.

Can you imagine the penalties in the Coles/MG contract for MG failing to meet the milk supply deadline. Scary enough to ensure that MG would have moved heaven and earth to find another milk processor to supply Coles with the shortfall and get them out of that highly embarrassing money gobbling disaster

Secondly lets look at bizarre. Surely bizarre doesn’t get any stranger than this? You need some-one to rescue you from a potential disaster whilst at the same time publicly and at great expense you are suggesting they are fools

Lets not forget just last week MG’s Managing Director Gary Helou ( see my previous post here ) was quoted in the Australian as saying

We (MG) are not farmers……..

According to the advertising agency

The campaign marks the brand entering the fresh milk sector after largely operating in the long-life milk sector for a number of years.

Well MG’s foray into the fresh milk market has certainly arrived with a whimper or should that be a snigger rather than a bang as far as ability to meet supply targets and deliver product to store. Would it be too cheeky of me to suggest it may just be the MG management team who are starring in their own adds. Yes far too cheeky but whatever way you look at it these adds are just poor taste whatever the background. No wonder the comments option has been disabled on Youtube???

Here is the portfolio for you to make up your own mind

This is what Charlotte from the UK says and I couldn’t agree more

Poorly thought out all round. This advert could be seen by those who do not know the history and its intention to mock its competitors as just a dig at the city people who buy their products. When everyone in the industry acknowledges the need to promote a positive images of agriculture and help to ease the apparent disconnect between consumers and how their food is produced, this appears to be doing the complete opposite with the farmer effectively shutting the gate on anyone that wears a suit to make a living.

What do you think?

Milking the supply chain formula

This post by Marian MacDonald Bring on the Cows demands a New Routine has inspired me to write a post about one of my favourite topics.

 How do we deliver affordable, nutritious, ethically produced food to Australian consumers and ensure that EVERYONE in the supply chain chain gets their fair share of the return on investment?

One way we (farmers) can do this is to own the the really big players in the supply chain and farmers have tried that.  Lets use farmer group Wesfarmers as an example.  Wesfarmers bought Coles and look how well that turned out for farmers Coles admits to threatening suppliers.

If we go back to Marian who is one of the many Australian dairy farmers who own the milk  cooperative  Murray Goulburn (MG) we have an example of farmers owning the other end of the supply chain – the raw product and its manufacturer.

Is it also a great example of beneficial outcomes for farmers and if not why isn’t it working.?

I think this statement by  MG CEO Gary Helou gets to the core of the majority of farmers supply chain challenges.      

“We are not farmers; MG is a global dairy food processing and milk company, and we will not be buying farms directly; that is not our business,” Helou says adamantly.

Yes Mr Helou is right when he says  ‘MG is a global dairy food processing and milk company,’ but he is is very wrong when he says ‘We are not farmers’.  Rubbish Murray Goulburn IS farmers. Farmers who also own a very large ‘global dairy food processing and milk company’ and farms are a BIG part of MG’s business. MG have a co-operative structure partnership with thousands of them – over 3000 in fact.

Mr Helou is not alone in forgetting the importance of a ‘we are all in this together’ communication strategy and mindset when talking to stakeholders, farmers have an equal role to play here.

Sadly this  ‘them and us’ mindset has become so entrenched, victim mentality rules and farmers feel disenfranchised

How many farmers do you meet who have regular meetings with their supply chain partners?

How many farmers do you know that proactively engage with processors and supermarkets to develop mutually beneficial relationships ensuring value is delivered at all points along the supply/value chain.

I can count the number of farmers I know that do that on one hand.

If you are like me and agree the only way forward to achieve a profitable and sustainable agrifood sector future is strong, healthy supply chain relationships in which our farmers are empowered, active participants then we need to change the current culture of ‘talking and doing’.  

I believe the first question we need to ask to is WHY  the current supply chain culture that greatly disadvantages farmers ( and almost everyone else except the supermarkets) exists and once we have a consensus on the WHY lets figure out HOW we change it and  then DO it.  

Back to the owning parts or all of the supply chain    

Its the old adage “it doesn’t matter how good the concept its the people that make it work’

Everyday the supply chain gets more complex,everyday farmers are losing contact with consumers. everyday supermarkets get bigger and more powerful.

If farmers want to ensure they are not gobbled up by the challenges and have the capacity to grab the opportunities then we must be as active beyond the farmgate as we are on the farm

beef_supply_chain

MacDonald’s is a great example of recognising the need to build, maintain and communicate strong supply chain relationships 

Animal Care under scrutiny. Is video surveillance the answer ?

When I don’t sleep I find it cathartic to blog about the things going round in my head. So today you get two very different posts

I want to throw something out there for consideration and it concerns that highly emotive topic – animal  welfare and husbandry practices.

This week a horrifying story has come out of Canada which if you haven’t been in the loop you can read all about here. I cant watch the footage and it just horrifies me that EIGHT people were involved. Obviously this is a very big farm and yes farmers do need our support because as the statistics keep reminding us animal abuse on farms is very much in the minority compared to the the abuse of domestic pets and in particular animal hoarders.

Regarding the Canadian incident (is that a strong enough word ) I was extremely impressed by the BC Dairy Association response which started with the following first step:

First and foremost, we pushed for the immediate installation of video cameras at Chilliwack Cattle Sales, allowing for 24-hour surveillance of animal care practices on the farm.

Interestingly enough the world’s leading expert on humane treatment of cattle, pigs and sheep Temple Grandin also recommends remote video monitoring in large facilities to maintain high standards of animal welfare.

So I put it out there is there should Australian farmers routinely install of video cameras to allow for 24-hour surveillance of animal care practices on the farm?.

After all is there anywhere (except the family home) today humans who live and work in cities can go without being under video surveillance to monitor our honesty, work ethic and safety.

So in this changing social and economic climate is it inconceivable that livestock industries follow suit if we want to ensure high standards of animal care as well as limit the impacts on our businesses and ensure long term sustainability.

I agree with this comment

In an era of increased scrutiny and demands for greater transparency, it is not a matter of “if” a painful or stressful  husbandry practice will come under scrutiny but a matter of ‘when’. Siting back and waiting for the next  media ‘expose’ is not a wise approach to the issue.

As farmers I am sure you will all agree that we must be more proactive and engage with the Australian community and assure them the faith they have in the food and fibre we produce is warranted.

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We must agree that it is very stressful let alone hurtful when this happens as it appears to have in Canada if the online vitriol is anything to go by

Now it’s branded every dairy farmer in the country as a vicious sadist whose gleeful pursuit of profit comes at the cost of the animals in his or her care.

As I have said I have put it out there. Do we have anything to fear and perhaps everything  to gain by taking the lead and installing our own on farm video equipment?.

I welcome your comments.

Life is a tapestry. We are the warp angels the weft who will be your weaver

I watch the Angel Flights adds and my heart goes out to all those people who live such long distances from the services we take for granted when we live close to capital cities

So this recent post from Bessie at Burragan certainly pulled my heart strings. Bessie is one of the Art4Agriculture AWI Wool Young Farming Champions. Bessie is also a journalist and a farmer (and farmer’s wife), living and working on a sheep property in far-western NSW.

Our place “Burragan” is 110km from the nearest town, 200km from the nearest supermarket, and 330km from the nearest major centre – Broken Hill. When I’m not out in the paddock helping with sheep work, I like to write, keep up with global issues, and uncover the strange secrets of our beautiful bush landscape.

Bessie also does the media releases for Art4Agriculture ( and what a phenomenal job she does) so I am in touch with her pretty regularly so I was aware that

In just the last few months (we have travelled ……more than 15,000 (make no mistake about the number of zeroes in that number) kilometres …  to the city, because our “lifestyle” means we live so far away from its necessary services.

Australians have long regarded life in the country as healthier than life in the city. Australian
city-dwellers move to rural areas for health benefits such as clean air and reduced traffic
congestion. However, people living in rural and remote Australia have many health disadvantages compared with their urban counterparts and statistics confirm that Australia’s rural and remote populations have poorer health than their metropolitan counterparts. They have higher mortality rates and consequently lower life expectancy. See full report here

Life-expectancy varies with geographic location. Those living in ‘capital cities’ can expect to live longer than their counterparts living in remote zone, and to a lesser extent, those living in rural areas. This is a reflection of the lower death rates for those living in ‘capital cities’ compared to those living in rural and remote areas. Demographic statistics indicate that:
• rural females can expect to live 80.8 years, only 0.4 years less than females living in ‘capital cities’
• males living in the rural zone can expect to live 74.7 years, compared to those living in ‘capital cities’ who can expect to live 75.6 years
• males living in ‘other remote areas’ can expect to live 71.5 years, 4 years less than their
‘capital cities’ counterparts
• females living in ‘other remote areas’ can expect to live 77.4 years, almost 4 years less than females from ‘capital cities’.

According to the Daily Telegraph.

The National Rural Health Alliance has quantified the cost of the health inequity at $2.4 billion a year.

Rural residents get 12.6 million fewer Medicare services, 11 million fewer prescription medicines and $800 million a year less dental and allied health care.

As a result they are 30 per cent more likely to end up in hospital as a result of an avoidable cause than city dwellers.

This inequity in spending and services has a calamitous human impact that is cutting short the lives of those who life outside our capital cities.

It is clear there is an inequity in spending and service and this should be addressed sooner rather than later.  I certainly don’t have all the answers but you must all agree that people like Bessie deserve the very best and it is imperative we lobby our politicians to keep searching for them and ensure when the solutions are found that they make every effort to rectify the problems

Here is an example of a very positive step in the right direction Rural Placements improve medical students attitudes in country practice

Don’t cross oceans for people who wont jump puddles for you

My family have been farming in this country for over 180 years ( and who knows how long in Ireland and Scotland before that)

My childhood experience of life on the farm left me with the impression that farming was the most undervalued profession in the world ( 50 years on I am wiser and sadly there are lots of professions as undervalued as farmers ).

This childhood experience encouraged me to choose a profession where I and the people I worked with were truly valued. And I did just that. In my day working in pharmacy  was extraordinarily  rewarding and people acknowledged that. I can remember one Christmas where we couldn’t find enough room for all the Christmas cards from the pharmacy’s customers in our lounge room and I put on 2kgs from the boxes of chocolates of thanks that came my way at Christmas,

For the last fifteen years I have been using my 25 years of experience in a truly rewarding profession to endeavour through as many innovative ways as I can to generate the same acknowledgement for farmers and its been a long haul . There have been many successes ( salute to the Young Farming Champions ) and a number of ongoing disappointments.

From my significant experience I give you this advice

Always remember there will be people who get it and people who never will.

First and foremost –  Value yourself

Don’t cross oceans for people who wont jump puddles for you

here comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans quotes

But I can assure you I will never let this happen

Stop caring

Kermit isn’t the only one proud to be Green. Farmers are too

Wearing my “I am very proud Australian farmer hat” and I am in a room of farmers and the question is asked  “Who of you considers yourself a bit of an environmentalist?”…  I would like to be confident, that like mine, every single hand in the room would go up without a moments thought ( or checking out what everyone else is doing). I fear however that this may not be the case

According to Wikipedia

Environmentalists advocate the sustainable management of resources and stewardship of the environment through changes in public policy and individual behaviour. In its recognition of humanity as a participant in (not enemy of) ecosystems, the movement is centred on ecology, health, and human rights.

Is there any more noble cause than ecology, health and human rights? With over 60% of Australia’s landscape being looked after by farmers its goes without saying ( or it should) all Australian farmers are environmentalists

Web

Yet environmentalist seems to be one of those words that farmers shy away from using in case they get labelled “greenies’ or ‘tree huggers’ or heaven forbid ‘friends of Green Peace or WWF’  

Stand tall stand proud fellow farmers we aren’t just talking about it we are walking the walk .Shout it from the rooftops “ I am a proud Australian farmer and I am an environmentalist” After all have you ever met a farmer who aims to leave their land worse off then when they arrived?.

For those of you who would like to see what some of our proud Australian farmers who are self declared environmentalists are up to there are some great blogs and websites for you to visit

Gus Whyte and family http://wyndhamstation.com.au/

Seven Aussie Farmers I am very proud to be sharing my story with here 1Million Women

Marian MacDonald  as selection from the wonderful Milk Maid Marian blog

http://milkmaidmarian.com/2013/12/01/for-our-children/

http://milkmaidmarian.com/2014/05/05/why-landcare-matters/

http://milkmaidmarian.com/2012/07/20/finding-pleasure-in-the-small-stuff/

http://milkmaidmarian.com/2012/05/10/caring-for-our-country-requires-a-team-effort/

http://milkmaidmarian.com/2011/12/28/our-green-investment-already-begins-to-grow/

http://milkmaidmarian.com/2011/11/26/a-beautiful-set-of-numbers/

http://milkmaidmarian.com/2011/10/05/intensified-farming-good-for-the-environment-sometimes/

Check out the work of the Montrose Dairy team of Gillian Hayman and Graeme Nicol http://montrosedairy.com/category/environment/

Clover Hill Dairies Diary http://chdairiesdiary.wordpress.com/category/environment/

Young Eco Champions http://archibullprize.com.au/teachers/yec/yec2013.html

and lots of great stories at the Target 100 site about our Cattle and Sheep Farmers including the Young Farming Champions team

clover-hill-one-day-in-paradise

 

Thank you proud and loud environmentalist  Bessie for inspiring this post

My plea to Michelle Bridges

The Art4Agriculture team of Young Farming Champions recently responded to the uproar in the agriculture sector that was generated by Michelle Bridges comments on the so called ‘ag gag’ laws and I was very proud of them. I was proud of them because they didn’t attack Michelle, they are just proud of their farms and they love to tell the world that they are proud to farm.   Michelle is perfectly within her rights to respond to the wider sector uproar  with this comment

Ms Bridges defended her column, posting this on Facebook days later:

“Aussie farmers – I have huge respect for what you do and realise the majority of the industry do the right thing. But I do believe that those who don’t should be held accountable.

“My article takes a stance against proposed new laws that I believe are unjust. It does not condone, encourage or endorse illegal activity.”

The long-term goal of reducing poverty, religious fundamentalism and overpopulation will be impossible to reach until we free women around the world from the enslavement of ignorance. More fundamental is the fact that education is a basic human right that has been systematically denied too many women for too long.”

I also agree with Cotton Farmer Bess OConnor who wrote on her Facebook page

AG-GAG.
This is a term I wish everyone (including our farmers and politicians) would stop parroting. It is a phrase that has been coined by terrorists (who call themselves animal libertarians) who are using it to help mislead the public in their push for a legal loophole allowing for exception for a particular form of discrimination and illegal activity.
The laws the current government are looking to implement are not about animal welfare cover ups nor are they about ‘special treatment’ for farmers, in fact the absolute opposite is true.
The laws are actually about securing and safeguarding the rights of farmers as individuals and business owners, just as those rights exist for all other people in this country.
For instance if someone broke into your house and set up surveillance to make sure you were being a ‘good parent’, or if a person did the same at your place of work to make sure you weren’t ‘slacking off’ would you be comfortable with that?
The cold, hard, raw fact is that here in Australia we have a fantastic human rights record. We advocate and do our best to ensure that the law and the judicial process are just and fair in order to secure a fair go and equality for all Australians.
If we continue down this path where we say “Oh yes, you may illegally enter this business (or this home) so long as you are there to collect footage that might uncover a possible item of interest”, don’t for a second think that this dismissal and sidestep of privacy laws won’t then in turn be used to alter laws in other areas too.

And this equally important comment from Sam Collier who is the bright mind behind the Australian Agriculture initiative and Bess’ reply

Bess O'Connor and Sam Collier

What Michelle and most people ossibly doesn’t know is that over 60% of the cruelty cases report to the RSPCA are for domestic pet abuse and that most prosecutions relate to what RSPCA refer to as animal hoarders. That is people who see themselves as “rescuers” of animals which in the main means people who ‘collect’ animals like cats and dogs and retired greyhounds and trotters in flabbergasting numbers and have no capacity to feed or house them?

What saddens me most is celebrities like Michelle speak and people listen. I just wish that they could see the big picture beyond “cute and cuddly’ and speak up and fight for the human causes. Of course animals are important but until people stop treating people baldy how we can expect them to treat animals well

Here is the cause if I would fight for if I  had the reach of people like Michelle

How Women can Save the Planet.

The long-term goal of reducing poverty, religious fundamentalism and overpopulation will be impossible to reach until we free women around the world from the enslavement of ignorance. More fundamental is the fact that education is a basic human right that has been systematically denied too many women for too long. Source

Sadly it isn’t ‘cute and cuddly’ and never will be but I will defy anyone to tell me there is a more important cause

Educate women

How proud would I be if I was a woman of influence and could could help make this happen