Sunday, February 20

End of an era

Whenever I am near a farm or in the country I experience a calm that comes over me like a gentle breeze. The sounds of country life instantly tells me to slow down and relax. It is hard to put my finger on it but I think it has something to do with the changing seasons; the hum of activity that sets its own pace and laughs at you if you foolishly try to impose your own will. From my childhood memories comes the idea there was a certain patience needed to taste the sweetness of fresh mulberries picked just as the fruit ripens. One felt secure in the daily routine of a baker bringing his freshly baked bread or a milkman filling your milk jug from milk from a farm up the road. There was a certain thrill of picking out only the edible wild mushrooms for our family breakfast.

I remain interested in farming and have watched the growth in ‘Land Care’ as farming properties join together to create interlocking corridors of preserved natural bush covenanted to nature. These large tracts of covenanted land set aside as a ‘trust for nature’ ensures the indigenous species can continue to flourish. These areas cover up to 15% or more of each property and not only preserve the environment in perpetuity but also provide superior farm yields.

Most Farmers who are involved with animals reared for the ultimate purposes of human consumption are at considerable pains to ensure their animal’s environment and relative freedom ensures enjoyment up to the time of any slaughtering. When that time arrives it needs to be carried out in a swift and humane to avoid suffering or stress on the animals concerned. There is no reason to sustain suffering of animals today. Factory farming (which , for the most part is not widespread in Australia) where animals are housed in restricted space and force fed a unnatural high growth diet tell us something very negative about society verging on moral bankruptcy. Fortunately in many countries distributors are starting to label their product as free range and turning the tide for that preference amongst consumers.

It all boils down to the point any prolonged suffering of animals is unacceptable today regardless of past tradition or culture or anything else. Either we take some responsibility for what we eat and how it is produced or we turn a blind eye to it or argue against it on the basis of animal’s existence is not of any consequence when it comes to human existence. Such as argument to my mind is morally indefensible. It also follows that those involved in any form of farming in the wild owe a responsibility not to engage in practices that result in slow agonizing death to animals.

Anyone witnessing the cruelty of commercial whaling would be horrified at the spectacle of the slow and agonising death of a harpooned whale. At least now in the Soutern Ocean ther whales have gained some respite ........'It’s official – the Japanese whaling fleet has called it quits in the Southern Ocean, at least for this season. And if they return next season, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society state they will be ready to resume their efforts to obstruct and disable illegal Japanese whaling operations. ' To read more click here

The federal government has refused to be drawn on the tenor of a meeting between the Japanese foreign minister and Australia's ambassador in Tokyo following a premature end to the whaling season.
Japan announced on Friday it was bringing home its harpoon ships a month early for safety reasons following a series of clashes with anti-whaling activists
. more here


Gary said...

Thoughtful post Lindsay. You know, BC had a socialist minded government for a few years in the 70's and it implemented the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), which mapped every piece of agrigultural land in BC and declared none of it could be used for anything else. Can you imagine?

No govt has been able to rescind this (although some have got golf courses included) and we have wonderful farmland protected everywhere.

Best to you and yours. I bought a CD from a musician you know very well - came with an origami fortune teller!

gfid said...

there's much more to 'the simple life' than many imagine.... and more and more deep thinkers are becoming 'simple minded'. sadly, moral bankruptcy has ripples that affect all of us.

Seraphine said...

i don't believe i have ever eaten a mulberry. unless it's a different name for another kind of berry?

i've been a vegetarian for 20 years. i don't believe in killing animals. it is a moral choice.

i support local farming whenever i can. i say 'whenever i can' because it isn't always possible to buy just locally-grown foods. bananas, for instance, don't grow very well in san francisco.
stores are getting better at stocking local foods. and there are frequent "farmers markets" events where local produce is sold.

last summer, i started growing some of my own vegetables again.

susan said...

Factory farming is not only an absolute disgrace for the cruelty of the practice but it's also disgusting and dangerous for people living near them. Sludge pond walls frequently break and even when they remain contained the stench from them spreads for miles. When we drove to the west coast 17 years ago our route took us through Iowa where there are lots of factory operations. Last summer that was a major factor in our decision to drive back across the country by a more northerly route.

I was so delighted to read about the Japanese fleet leaving the southern last week I wrote my own post about it.

Several weeks ago I read an article about a scientist and a dolphin who are working to develop a mutual language. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Gary. Grid, Sera & Susan,
Thank for your insightful comments.
Gary – That is a wonderful enduring legacy and folk can be grateful for the foresight of those who were involved back in those days. The only wealth we have is the land and its resources. Hope you enjoy the music and good fortune flows to you and yours this year

Grid. Indeed there is much more to 'the simple life' than many imagine. Although moral bankruptcy has ripples that affect all of us I think the world wide tide is turning in favor of more responsible modes of sustainable farming.

Sera -You may have eaten mulberries under the guise of red berries even though, strictly speaking, they are a collective fruit. The red American mulberry fruit is found in your eastern states of Massachusetts to Kansas and on the Gulf coast. Your no doubt aware silk worms only eat the leaves of mulberry trees. The silk is obtained from the cocoons made by the larve of the silkworm- silk production dates to 3000 BC in China. The black mulberry trees were first imported into Britain in the 17th century for the cultivation of silkworms. They were transported here with the First Fleet in 1788- and the trees thrive in the northern regions.
In your early colonial times the trees were introduced for the purposes of the silkworm trade and hybridized with your native red mulberry.
Vegetarians consume far less resources that anyone else- a fraction of the resources for grain fed beef – which is a point of which you’re no doubt already familiar. Try tasting a mulberry pie?

Susan - Hopefully some of the factory farming is dying out in the USA? It seems that would be the last vestige for this heinous practice to continue.
I was equally delighted to read about the Japanese fleet leaving the southern ocean last week- I think this is finally the beginning of the end for the Japanese whalers who so called research ship has been active in securing their annual whale ‘ kill’ in the waters of the great southern ocean.

Every year we discover just how much more intelligent are animal like dolphins that we previously supposed. Nothing would surprise me.
Best wishes

Mercutio said...

The only whale I've ever seen was a whale shark. We were in Florida, on the Treasure Coast, about 5 miles out on a 16-footer. We got out of there pretty quick.

I worked commercial fishing vessels for three summers while I was going to school. That, along with some grants from President Clinton, was what put me through college.
Over half the time, there will be dolphins, shark, or tuna following the boats.
At the time, there were new regulations in effect to protect the sea turtles. The turtles didn't really seem to be at issue to me (nesting sites are more of a concern), but they were out there killing off redfish right and left.
It bugged me. One night, I walked out there and just started throwing the redfish back into the water. The rig man, a fellow named Tim that was missing two fingers from an incident with a winch, said, "What you're doing there is pretty effing admirable." After watching me for a couple of minutes, and seeing that I wasn't going to let up, he came over to help.
Sometimes, one man's initiative can make a difference, if only a small one.
I feel an attachment to dolphins, but sailors often do. Maybe it's something that comes from not seeing sight of land for weeks on end.
While I see the whaling as foolish, misguided, and regressive, the Japanese fishing practice regarding dolphins is nothing short of monstrous.
I kind of feel that a bit personally, I suppose.
But that third summer on the Gulf, I didn't see any bluefin at all. Not a single tuna to be had. And I wonder why nobody was making any noise about it.
I remember seeing photos from the early 20th century of sturgeon being pulled from the Great Lakes by a team of horses, and a sturgeon that took over twenty men to hold up. There's not a lot of them out there any more, but there are a number of programs to repopulate the lakes, to limited effect.
I'm not so sure that the same type of programs could be effective with whales, but I think it would be well worth the effort.
Let's hope this will be put to rest for good this time.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Mecutio,
Thanks for dropping by and adding your interesting stories about your commercial fishing experiences. I am aware of the terrible waste that occurs in such ventures but can be overturned by the application of uncommon common sense. Good for you. I agree with other comments.
best wishes