The Darker Side of Agriculture

2014 Sheep muster

2014 Sheep muster

Pete and I have been reflecting about how we have made money and lived* off killing animals. We have been discussing what we have done in the name of farming and how we have used the land and animals for financial gain. We have said a lot of things like:

“We love and care for sheep; We love and care about animals; We love and care for the environment’; ‘We are custodians or ‘caregivers’ of the land’. But do we truly love?

The Truth, based upon our actions, shows otherwise**.

I am beginning to see the Truth and reality of the decisions we have made on ‘our’ farm. We feel we own it and we can do as we please with it. We feel that we are entitled to take as much as we want from the environment and livestock, and to be honest many of our ‘environmental’ decisions haven’t been because we have had a pure desire to Love the environment but because we wanted to improve the land to get more from it, example grow more grass to run more livestock. At this time we are takers rather than givers. We continue to run sheep and ‘love’ them until we need money and then we sell them. We hope that re-stockiest will buy them, but often its abattoirs, so we have sold them to slaughter.

To put it bluntly we trade and kill animals for financial gain. Our financial wealth is made from blood money.

Pete and I were adding up approximate numbers of animals we have been responsible for raising and their eventual deaths due to the personal choices and decisions that we have made for the 19 years that Kyabra has existed in it’s current form.

It is important to note that we often want to pretend and tell ourselves that we are responsible for less killings because we have sent animals to re-stockers (another property), cattle agistment  (providing grass/food for other peoples cattle) and they don’t immediately die. The truth is that for the majority of domesticated animal’s***, their eventual fate will be death by human hand, for human or pet consumption by abattoirs or by other killing locations (the back yard meat house).

Approximate numbers of animals**** we are responsible for raising, killing or their eventual death over the last 19 years:*****

Estimates

  • 115,000 Sheep
  • 15,000 Cattle – raised, killed and supported by us in running cattle on agistment
  • 450 Alpaca’s – on agistment
  • 16 or more Eagles – killed by poisoned sheep carcasses
  • 100’s Crows – killed by poisoned sheep carcasses – uncertain of accurate numbers
  • 1000‘s Kangaroos – killed by contract shooters
  • 1000’s Rabbits – killed by contact shooters, intentionally spreading calicivirus across entire property when first arrived, poisoned 1080 carrots, 1000’s Foxes – killed by contract shooters and intentional poisoning
  • 100’s Pigs – killed by contract shooters
  • 1000’s Eggs – I found this hard to calculate when I realised I needed to include everything in my entire life I have eaten that has contained eggs. That is A LOT of eggs as I loved cakes.
  • 100’s Cats
  • <10 Wild Dogs
  • Any wild animal that has eaten poisoned meat or 1080 baits we are responsible for killing. We cannot give absolute numbers as in some years we have put out over a thousand 1080 fox baits and we do not know the numbers of animals and creatures that have died or had an associated death from these intentional poisonings. For example, 1080 carrot baiting for rabbits we have no idea how many rabbits died from it and how many foxes, birds and pigs then subsequently died from eating the now poison rabbits.

I (Eloisa) have wanted to feel I am better than Pete and other farmers because I told myself I wasn’t ‘responsible’ for any of the killing, I didn’t take part in it in a literal way. I haven’t wanted to see what I have been doing, the consequences of my actions and the demand I have upon animals, the environment, and others, mainly because I want financial security. I am wiling to justify, compromise and desentise to issues that are morally and ethically wrong to get my addictions, demands and expectations met.

So what I now need to accept is that I want financial security and I want the lifestyle that I lead; I want Pete to do the ‘dirty work’; I want to take from the earth rather than give and live in harmony with God’s creations; I wanted to distance myself from the truth of what I have done and make out I am better than I am; and I want to live off the ‘blood money’ of an industry that is contributing to the destruction of the environment and will end up negatively impacting future generations and affecting their quality of life.

We have been discussing how our actions and what we are doing, and have done in our agricultural practice is contributing to the destruction of the environment world wide.

Examples of adverse environmental effects from current agricultural practices: Destroying the ozone layer with methane gas from cattle and livestock gas, affecting the natural seed bank by stock eating the shoots and the plants not being able to seed and reproduce. We are responsible for the degradation of the land, erosion and the beginnings of desertification; jeopardizing the natural seed-bank; the pillaging and pollution of waterways – lakes, rivers, seas, chemical pollution; degradation of the soil; competition between domestic and native animals; the decline of native animal species and all sorts of other destructive environmental effects. All of these things are not loving nor caring towards the environment and are not in harmony with God’s view on how eco-systems work******. All of these things not only effect us now, but will negatively effect and impact future generations lives as well.

The more we destroy now, the more we take, the more we continue to run livestock or partake in mass scale intensive farming with the demand to take what we please, when we please, the more damage we are creating.

We can get judgmental, blaming and all uppity at farmers and primary producers making them ‘wrong’ and feeling that it is ‘they’ that need to remedy the situation, but we need to look at both sides of the story and our personal contribution to the situation. It is not just ‘their’ problem it is ours too. The media and groups like Animals Australia and the RSPCA, for example (there are many other groups not named), get up in arms about how other countries slaughter animals, or how some farmers are treating animals, they choose who is doing the ‘right’ thing and who is not. Animal activist groups are willing to sneak in and take videos to discredit farmers.

I wonder why these groups are not also sneaking into people’s homes in the city where people eat cow, sheep, chicken or fish each night and give a view on how terrible this practice is and how it is contributing to the rapid degradation of the planet, it’s atmosphere and possibly even further into the universe. And how in fact it is a combination of the barter system between producer and consumer that actually perpetuates the cycle and actually contributes to dodgy farming practices, because farmers are only keeping animals for financial gain or trying to meet a demand which is too large to be sustainable.

Many people want ‘organic’ meat, or ‘grass fed beef’, or RSPCA condoned brands of dead chickens in the super market, as they feel ‘better’ about eating this than feedlot beef or battery farmed hen. What the consumer is not realising is they are in part responsible for many things they are unhappy about, including mis-treatment of animals due to their demand for meat and animal products (see list above of adverse environmental effects from current agricultural practices).

The majority of us are not interested in looking at our personal involvement in the reasons why meat is produced in the first place, how it is produced, the emotional reasons why we eat it and how it is contributing to the destruction of the planet, wildlife, domesticated animals, eco-systems and ultimately humanity.

We are so desensitized and this is a huge problem.

In order to change for real and begin to heal the planet in a real way there will need to be personal change at a soul level, the allowance of old beliefs and fears to be challenged and felt, and a willingness to experiment and modify existing agricultural practices or try totally new ones. I feel that people in agriculture could actually make the radical changes necessary to both feed everyone on the earth and fix the planet environmentally. People will also need to examine their current consumer choices and dietary desires.

It will take heart and soul change as well as physical effort & attitude change. It will take re-education and new education based on Truth, love and care, rather than fear and greed, for all of us to make both the emotional and physical changes needed to do things differently. We need to stop the cycle of ignorance and educate ourselves on what is really happening, this may take experimentation and trying new things, we need to discuss the real issues, feel about them and desire to change it in a loving, positive direction. All these things I feel are possible and hopeful in a world that at present is being destroyed at a rate that is faster than nature is able to repair.

I feel if we really knew the truth of our own choices and how we personally contribute to what goes on on farms and how involved and responsible we are personally in what is going on in the world; If we believed that change was actually possible and had ways to make those changes personally, that we may have more desire and be more likely to take the opportunities to change and make different decisions. While we keep these issues at arms length, justify them and remain desensitized they will continue to happen and we will all continue do what we have always done which means no change can occur.

To be honest if something doesn’t change very soon (Like beginning change today) in 20 years the turn around will be even harder and more labour intensive because of our choices to not do anything. As is quoted by many, ‘the best time to begin is now’.

Footnotes:

1 My focus will mostly be on livestock in this article as that is what I have experience with at this time. I feel some of the comments in this article also apply to other intensive agricultural practices such as cropping.

**2 I do not disregard that we have had a growing awareness, and on some projects an intention to love and care for the environment, but it hasn’t been holistic, it has been selective, unethical and often hypocritical. Ironically with the realisations we are having now about just how ‘off’ we have been, it begins the process of awareness and we have the opportunity to love in a real way and make real change in order to right the wrongs we have perpetuated.

***3 This is the reality for all bar a lucky few that will die a natural death after a long and (questionably) enjoyable life. Many animals die on the land but there are many instances where this is not due to old age and a life spent grazing the luscious grasses and herbaceous plants. Rather illness, bad management, natural or man made disasters, drought, starvation, attack or all sorts of other reasons could contribute to their demise (these are all attracted by sheep owners soul condition, so are the responsibility of humans also).

****4 I (Eloisa) am also responsible for each animal that I ate part of during my meat eating years. Each animal that had it’s skin used to shod my feet and give me pretty handbags or wallets; Each animal that was boiled down to meet my sugar addictions by supplying gelatin in the sweets I ate; The colostrum of cows for a facial product; Fish oil in vitamins and lots more. Even my desire for these things contributes to animals dying, I was a consumer supporting a market based on animal slaughter.

*****5 These numbers are a rough guide to how many animals we suspect we have killed or been involved in killing. We don’t have accurate records and Pete has tried to estimate to the best of his ability for these numbers. I share these numbers to show you the magnitude of what we are personally responsible for and to illustrate that it is wrong to kill animals for financial gain and human consumption.

******6 Jesus’ talk on ‘Loving Eco-Systems’ LINK

20121031 Creating Loving Eco-Systems, An Introduction S1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndtLmM20hH4

20121031 Creating Loving Eco-Systems – An Introduction S2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7kJrBx5jrY

Pure Gyrs 027