WWOOFing it Up in Kiwiland: organic farming in New Zealand 2012

3 years later and life brings me back to New Zealand. This time for a longer period, for a different purpose, with a different outlook on life than last time. I hope what transpires from a few years of travelling as far and as wide as possible across this beautiful country is a basic but decent knowledge and experience in organic farming, self sustainable living, and food production. Come and join me, there's loads of room in the car.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I know how I'd feel if i was going to end up as someone else's dinner!

Day 10

Yesterday was pretty boring. I was home alone and did the housework but I've managed to get better at switching onto autopilot. Caesar's become quite today, or maybe he just likes me more. Hanging about like a bad smell, figuratively and literally! He likes his stomach being rubbed and he sat in every room while I was cleaning. Anyways, it was an eventful day: compared to today!

Today I went to the stock market in Levin because the daughter wants a few calves to rear, to earn money on the meat. The sun was shining all day. I was very happy to be outside and looking forward to learning about how people trade livestock. It's probably similar in the UK, as a lot is here. There was a big pig. Half a dozen pens of sheep and lambs, and 20 odd smaller pens with calves, between 1 and 5 fitting neatly in. The pens were clean but soon we were walking on pools of manure and urine. Some of them looked bony, some had big bulging eyes. The skinny ones either hadn't been fed because they were left overnight or because of sickness.

It was busy, about 50 adults, a few dogs turned out and I couldn't help but notice a sizeable percentage of the people had big guts, from, I guess, eating a lot of meat? Someone asked me if I was buying or watching. They were friendly enough the people, but I definitely did not look like the type of farmers attending. You could tell the regulars, and the characters, as people had first name terms with the staff. One distinctive character had crazy Einstein hair and a sheepskin coat, who I thought was South African, but as I later found out was Dutch, shouted and prodded at a calf to get it to stand up and made a general racket. He then bought a handful of calves, and later joked to me that his border collie was for sale: 'very loyal!', laughed at himself and walked away without a response. There's always the characters...

We had bought 2 pens, 3 Angus heifers, and another simmental heifer. So 4 altogether but 2 have gone to another family who we shared the bid with. This prompted me again to think about how we treat animals as our property. Commodities to be traded between us humans for food. It's how they've been reared for centuries and it's not as though we can change history. You don't get wild cows anymore. Yet, something still doesn't feel right about it. These calves had no clue what's going on. Where they end up, and ultimately, what they'll end up becoming: dinner. Is it fair on them? I knows how I'd feel if I was going to end up as someone else's dinner; I'd feel like the victim of a gross injustice and be able to understand how Jack felt when he found himself at the top of the beanstalk in the land of the giant... but then animals don't think like us either. I'm sure they have no reference to fairytales.

I've been to the cinema to see a frivolous and entertaining film, Pitch Perfect. Nothing like a bit of escapism after a harsh day of reality. Then I watched a documentary about India and it's culture. It's fascinating how animals like rats, monkeys, lions and cranes are revered before humans. Makes me wonder how much the animals appreciate it, that's if they can even comprehend how lucky they are in India.