Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Detention Centres, Water balloons, Dairy Australia, and RSPCA

1. Listened to Sally Seltmann singing Heart that's Pounding.  I saw it when looking for a Bran Nue Day song.  I haven't listened to "Heart That's Pounding" for a few days.  I'm glad I ran into it.   My love for Offspring has been overshadowed a bit by my obsessive love for Tallygarunga.  But hearing the song has rekindled the love.  I'm going to download another episode soon.   I think I'm going to wait though and watch the show in New York.  I'll watch it on the plane or car ride...or both.  I'll split it up again.  

2. Found the Bran Nue Dae song. It's the title one.  I thought of it because someone found my blog by searching for it. I saw that on Statcounter, and it made me want to listen to the song.

3. Remembered what I thought about in the shower.  It was regarding what I said in the last post about feeling bonded to Adrian, the character from Tallygarunga.

I do think you can bond with characters.  Maybe bonding is the wrong word.   I don't know what's the right word.   But it's where you start having feelings for the character.  It could be love, in a very lose form of the world.

Let's go back to Offspring.  I think I immediately had feelings for Nina and Cherie. It was love at first episode.  It took me awhile to like Billie. I think the last character I "bonded" with is Mick.   It took me a long time to like him.  He was blah to me at first.  I was always eager for his scenes to end.  I look back at those past feelings and it seems totally crazy. He's one of my favorites now.

4. Went to sleep and dreamed about my sort-of Australian cousin. She's an expat, and I think in the dream, my older sister Dawn and her friend were expats as well.   I'm with Dawn, and her friend, in a room.   I ask Dawn if she's seen our cousin lately.  She replies that I can answer this question myself by thinking of Dawn's photos that I've seen. Are there any recent photos of our cousin?  I don't remember seeing many photos, so I'm guessing the answer is no. Then Dawn and her friend start complaining about my cousin. They say she uses all these Australian words and phrases; and it sounds very fake.   I defend my cousin and say Australian words and phrases sound strange when you first hear or see them.  But after awhile you get used to them and it feels very natural to say and hear them. I tell them that there are Australian ways of saying things now that sound more natural to me than the American counterparts. I try to think of an example, but I can't.  

Dawn and her friend seem surprised by this, but they seem accept what I say.

5. Dreamed about the sons of my sort-of Australian cousin.   I'm in a house with lots of people.   A child has just peed on the floor of the bathroom.   People start to take care of that.  Coming from down the hall, I can hear one of my young cousin's singing with a microphone.   I go in the opposite direction to another room. The singing cousin's younger brother is there.  I tell him that his brother is singing. He doesn't really respond to that.  He takes off a big piece of paper from a pad and starts to draw.  I watch him and think about how he's pretty adorable.  

I wonder if that dream is symbolic in some way. Singing vs. drawing?   Someone peeing on the floor.  It all seems like it could mean...something.

6. Dreamed about one of our Australian friends.  I have sent my friend a bunch of my clothes.  She's going to do something to them—some kind of favor for me.  I start thinking that it's a bit strange that I have sent so much clothes to Australia.   Then I remember that I didn't send money for the return postage. I feel guilty and embarrassed about that. 

In real life, I would have realized I could just send money through PayPal. 

7. Read article about the cows in Australia, the ones not being sent over to Indonesia.   It's a problem for some of the farmers because they don't know what to do with the cows.  I was thinking, why not just keep them for awhile?  But the article says they don't have enough feed.

There's talk of a lot of meat going to Australian grocery stores.  This might be good for the consumers. If there's a lot of supply, the price will go down.   It's not good for the farmers.  The article also talks about how cows are prepared differently for the Indonesian markets. They weigh less, and in turn they taste differently when dead. They're going to try to fatten them up before killing them.

For the thin cows that taste differently, could they not be turned into dog and cat food?

8. Wondered if it would work to have a charity set up for the cows and farmers. Maybe the money could go towards getting more food for the cows so they don't have to be slaughtered right away?

Also, this might sound weird coming from a vegetarian, but I sort of think maybe Australians should try to eat a lot of beef in the next few weeks.   It's best if it doesn't come from a factory farm, of course.

I wonder how much beef in Australia comes from factory farms, and how much comes from regular not-so-bad farms.

9. Changed my mind about my advice...sort of.   I read the article again, and it sort of annoys me.  The farmers don't seem to care about the welfare of the cows. It seems they (at least the ones in the article) only care about their losses.

I don't know. Maybe it's better if the cow industry has their losses and the farmers go onto producing something else.  How about more vegetables?  Fruit?  Cotton?  Nuts?  All that's useful.  

10. Decided I'd like to live in a world where animal farming becomes very rare.  Only a few farmers do it, and meat becomes a fairly expensive delicacy.  All the animals are treated wonderfully before dying.  On most days, people eat vegetarian food. Every so often, they have a steak or chicken sandwich.

The alternative is that thing where meat is grown in a laboratory with no real animals involved. It's just live tissue. I hope that happens someday. It's creepy, but cruelty free.   

11. Started to read an article about the experiences of an asylum seeker.  The man (Kamal) is from Burma, and he was in Malaysia. Then he got on a boat to Australia.   He's now in the Villawood Detention Centre.

Kamal and his family fled Burma because of slavery and persecution. That was about twenty years ago.  He spent a long time in Malaysia before coming to Australia.    He had to leave his family behind.  I'm guessing he was hoping to bring them over later.

In Malaysia, Kamal set up a refugee centre and was given donations by a Christian group. A Muslim group didn't like that, and stalked Kamal and his family. That's why Kamal left.

So now Kamal is stuck in a detention centre and he's away from his family.   It would be nice if he got out of the detention center, became part of Australia life, and brought his family over to live. I hope they're reunited someday soon, and have a happy life.

12. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Villawood Detention Centre. It's in Sydney.   I'm looking at it on Google Maps.  It's pretty far our west.  

Lord Wiki says it's been the center of a lot of controversy. There's been suicides there, and a few months ago, some of the detainees set the place on fire.   I vaguely remember that

13. Skimmed through article about the Villawood fires. There's a part of me that asks, what kind of rude person would come to a new country and set it on fire?    Then another part of me answers....one who's had an awful life, came to Australia to find a better life, and is now still living a very horrible life.

As for the fire, no one was injured, fortunately.  But three rooms were destroyed—a computer room, media room, and a dining room.  A place that provides those three types of rooms doesn't sound all that bad.  But who knows. It could have been a very gross and ill-equipped dining, media, and computer room.

14. Disturbed by some of the comments on the Villawood article.  Glynn says, Refugees who dont accept our temporary institutional detention system for filtering unsuitable aliens are potential threats to our safety, security and a drain on our taxpayer provided funds.   But it's not temporary.  In 1994, the time limit for detaining people was removed.  They can be there for years. I think there'd be much less anger if there were a reasonable time limit.

Nurse Ian says, Send them home. Anybody who wanted to be here and truly deserved to be here would not behave in this way. Does the government really think Australians want these people living in our society?    That's true.  You don't set fire to a place where you want to be lived and welcomed.   But maybe after being in the detention center, these refugees no longer even want to live in Australia.   I am betting they're extremely angry and disillusioned.  They don't feel safe and welcomed in Australia.  They don't feel safe in their old country. Their life is hell.   What are people supposed to do when they're in that type of situation? What would Nurse Ian do if he was stuck in a detention center indefinitely?


Still. I wonder. Are the detainees truly being treated horribly?  Now the whole indefinite detention thing gives me the chills.   I hate that.  But within the detention experience itself, is it horrible?   It's really hard to tell, because people have different tolerance levels.

How bad are the detention centres when compared to Nazi death camps? I mean minus the death.   I don't think anyone's being gassed in showers.  Are people getting enough food?   Are they overworked?  Do they have enough living space? Are they free from verbal and physical abuse?

Is the fire a desperate response to horrific abuse?  Or is the fire a response from people who are a bit too demanding regarding their accommodations? 

15. Wondered if the detention centres are comparable to prisons? Are they? If so, is it right to treat refugees like criminals?

16. Wondered if you could have a detention centre where people have a fairly decent life. It doesn't have to be full of luxury.  When I was young, my family used to go to this camp in Illinois.   It was fairly rustic. We slept in cabins with no air conditioning. You had to walk outside to go the bathroom.   There were daddy long legs there, and it was a bit creepy.   If I remember correctly the toilet stalls had no doors, so there was a lack of privacy.   There were also no private showers.   There was a big outside thing with multiple shower heads. All the women would have to shower together.   People would usually wash while wearing their swimming suits. 

It was all really awful, but we had a fantastic time.   Why?  We were treated with respect.  The counselors were nice to us; and they were fun.  We were also free. That was a big thing.  And we stayed for only a week.

My ideas for fixing the detention centre situation is to a)have a time limit.  I don't know if it's feasible to get people in and out within a few weeks; but how about a few months?   Maybe have a three month limit?  Would that work?   b) Even if the detainees can't have the most comfortable of living standards, make things as enjoyable as possible.

I don't know.  Maybe people are already trying to make things okay for the detainees, and the detainees won't be happy until they get the hell out of there. It's really hard to know.  

17. Read article that says underage drinking happens more in Australia than America. The belief seems to be that this is because drinking is more tolerated in Australia.  Well, at least a Dr. Hemphill believes that.   She thinks America has a zero tolerance approach, and that Australia has the attitude accepting that young people might sometimes use alcohol and other drugs but trying to encourage them to do that in a safe way.

That could be true.  The thing I wonder is whether the results were obtained by self-reporting tests only. What if American kids were less likely to admit to using alcohol BECAUSE of the zero-tolerance thing?  Yes, I'm sure they were told the results would be private and anonymous. But what if the kids didn't have full trust in the anonymity system?   


Personally, I think it should be a balanced approach. I don't have a teenager yet, so I'm talking out of my ass here.   I wouldn't want a zero tolerance approach when Jack's older.   I don't want him to feel something's absolutely forbidden, because then he might do it in secret.  I feel he might make safer choices if he feels he can be open about it. On the other hand, I don't want him to get the idea that I support drinking and drug use.  I want him to know that I think drinking/drugs are bad for you; and I already talk to him about this.  I think Tim is more open to drug use.   He drinks. His message is probably more about being responsible and moderate.  Jack's going to be getting mixed messages.   That's fine.  It's part of life.  I do hope my message wins out.   At the very least, I hope he waits until he's older to start drinking, smoking pot, etc.   I've already told him about the studies I've seen that show early pot smoking can lead to schizophrenia.  I told him if he wants to do that, wait until he's older.

18. Read Andrew's post about the cow issue.  His opinions seem similar to mine.  He says, this morning I heard a farmer come up with some doozeys. The poor Indonesian child sitting down to dinner with a bowl of rice and no beef to go with it. Worse was, the north of Australia will be full of farmers hanging from trees. I do feel some sympathy for the farmers, but you can't tell me they were all so ignorant.

The Indonesian child thing disgusts me. Are we still perpetuating the myth that a meatless diet is one of deprivation?   It's ridiculous.  And I agree with Andrew, it's hard to believe the farmers were ignorant of what was happening to their animals on the ships and at their destination.   I'm not a farmer.  I'm not even in Australia.  But I heard stories months ago.   Really.  Four Corners is not the first program or organization to mention the abuse.  It's NOT new news. It's old news that most people previously chose to ignore.   

19. Read article that says asylum seekers being sent to Malaysia will be spared the caning experience. I guess that's a good start. The article also says that the asylum seekers will be released into the community after six weeks. Is that the Australian community, or the Malaysian one?

20. Talked to Jack about drinking again. We had a nice discussion. I also told him about some of the cow issues in Australia and Indonesia.

21. Ate a bowl of mashed potatoes with vegetables and did not feel horribly deprived because there was no meat in my lunch.  I will admit that it had some cream and cheese mixed in.   It was leftovers from two nights ago though.  I feel less bad about eating leftovers because they're likely to be thrown away.   

I'm trying to be moderate rather than extreme.  Last night I had a small bowl of ice-cream. Tonight I'll choose abstinence.  Maybe I'll eat dairy the way I wish meat-eaters would eat meat. I don't wish for them to give it up all together, but it would be great if they didn't indulge in it at every meal.   

Last night I had ice-cream. This morning I ate my cereal dry.   The pathetic thing is we have soy milk. Tim and Jack drink that, and we rarely ever buy regular milk anymore. But soy milk grosses me out a bit.  I don't know why.  I do like almond milk; so I may buy more of that in the future. 

22. Learned from the Australian Dictionary of biography that my Australian of the day is William Race Allison.  

The family arrived in Hobart on November 22. That's my birthday!  William was about ten when they made big move from England.   

23. Tried to figure out if the Allison family stayed in Tasmania, or moved to New South Wales.  I was confused because the dictionary mentions the Macquarie River.  I thought that was in New South Wales.  And it is.  But there's also one in Tasmania. And they mention Sandy Bay. I looked that up.  It's a suburb in Hobart.  

The Allison family didn't have it easy.  At one point, their property was attacked by some rough people.   William's father ended up with a injured head.   I'm not sure if it was severe or not.
The family also had another family as their enemy; the Gatenbys.  It's like Romeo and Juliet. After William's father died, one of William's brothers was made manager of the property. The family lost the property to the Gatenbys, and William's brother committed suicide.

William became a politician.  He wasn't very popular because he supported the continuation of bringing convicts over for cheap labor.   On the other hand, some people liked him for other reasons.   I'm not going to go into detail about that.  It deals with stuff I don't understand, and I don't care enough to learn more.   

24. Watched the GetUp Australia video about the live animal transports to Indonesia. It's a sequel to the video launched a few days go.  It talks about the abuse, the internet campaigning, and the petitions. It's nice to see that sometimes people can make a difference.  

25. Went to Tallygarunga.  What storyline should I read today?

26. Decided to read a story called "It's Harmless Really".   It started yesterday, and is four posts long.  It's starring Emily Smith(the nonreligious athletic wizard who looks like Kirsten Dunst) and Riley Lightfoot.   I think I may have read a Riley Lightfoot story before. I think maybe he's the guy from New Zealand?   

The setting for this scene/story is the basement corridor of the Eureka Underground Hallway.   

I can see from this page that the Eureka Underground Hallway is a converted mineshaft. It's likely named after the Eureka uprising thing.   

Students would find themselves in the Eureka Underground Hallway if they were taking Herbology, Potions, Muggle Studies, or Wandless Magic. It's also the location of the Spencer Dorms and the Spencer common rooms.   

So here we have Riley and Emily in the corridors. Are they coming back from class, or were they hanging out in their common room? Are they Spencer students?  

Well, I'll read and find out.   

27. Started reading.  

Yes. They're both Spencer.   Emily is eleven, and Spencer is fourteen.  I can imagine an eleven-year-old girl crushing on the 14 year-old boy. 

Emily is in the Spencer common room. She's bored and finds some water balloons. She's going to do something wicked.

Do you know what?  Water balloons are hard to blow up.   I didn't realize this until my niece's birthday party last year. Then again., they might have been bad balloons.  I don't know.   But we couldn't just turn on the tap and let the water go in. The water went in, but the balloons wouldn't inflate at all.   Although now that I think of it, it doesn't make sense.  Shouldn't the balloons have expanded when there was enough water?    

Well, you would think so. But it didn't work that way. We had to get a water bottle and use that.  That way water and air was squeezed in at the same time.  

Emily just used the bathroom sink to fill the balloons. She probably has better ones than we did.  And no, they're not magical balloons.  The text here specifically labels them as being Muggle water balloons.  

Emily does use magic though, with the balloons. She suspends them in the corridor, waiting for her victim.   

28. Read the next post in the story. This is from Riley's point of view. He's reading an Alex Rider book.  What's that? 

Lord Wiki says they're British spy novels.  Maybe Jack would like them?  He hasn't read any novels since Harry Potter.   

Anyway, Riley's reading. And he wants some chocolate.   

Oh.  This is a disappointment.  Riley had a secret stash of chocolate hidden in a chair.  He opened the fabric with magic, and the chocolate was gone.   It's awful when you're expecting to have some chocolate, and then it turns out there's none available. Although it's probably not as bad as situations where people are expecting their heroin, and they don't get it.   

Riley leaves the common room to head to the kitchen. He meets up with the water balloon and Emily.  He catches her before the balloon falls.   

Now they're having a debate about rule-breaking.  Riley somewhat scolds Emily for doing the prank, but then he offers to be her pranking mentor.  Ah...now I remember Riley.  He's the one who likes wearing cargo shorts so he can keep pranking materials in his pocket.    Did I read his biography already?  I hope not, because I have probably forgotten most of it, then.   

29. Looked through my old posts and found that I did read about Riley before.  This is so annoying.  Things go in my brain and then out again. Well, at least my memory was triggered and I remembered the cargo pants thing.  

Riley is the one who likes the chase, but not the relationship. He's had many girlfriends, but hasn't kissed any of them yet.

30. Decided to read Emily Smith's biography.   I'm pretty sure I haven't read it yet. AND...in a few days I'll have forgotten most of everything I've learned.  

Emily is Muggle Born and originally from Ireland.   

She doesn't like her curly hair.

Why do people with curly hair so often not like their curly hair?   

Emily is sweet but she speaks before she thinks. She also has a bad temper.   

She likes being outdoors and she likes candy.   

Like Ron Weasley, Emily is afraid of spiders.  She doesn't like to pick on kids who are younger than her.   But I guess it's okay if they're older than her?   Oh, okay. I think she means just joking around—prank/silly stuff.   She's not into bullying, though.   Sometimes it's hard to know where the line is drawn.   My rule of thumb is if the target is amused, it's a good joke.   If they're hurt and not amused, and the behavior towards them is continued, it's bullying.   

31. Delighted to see that Emily was an Irish homeschooler.  The family fished and raised sheep.   Then they got a letter, and Emily went from being a homeschooler to a potential boarding school student in Australia.  I do have to wonder why she didn't get the letter from Hogwarts. Why Australia?  Was there something about Emily that disqualified her?   

32. Learned that Emily's also afraid of horses.  I like that. I mean I don't like that she's afraid. But I think it's an interesting quirk for a character.   

33. Went to the website for DairyAustralia.  Maybe it will give me some insight into what happens with the dairy cows. I'm sure they'll give it a very positive spin.   In turn, the animal rights group give it a very negative spin.  The true story is probably somewhere in between.

Here's their page on animal welfare. They have a nice photo of a woman having a tender moment with a cow.   

Here's the page on calves.  I'm going to read through that.   On this page, they do admit to removing the baby within 12 hours of birth.  They claim that this is to reduce the risk of infection.   Is this just a cow thing?  Cow babies are better off being without their moms?  Why isn't the same for other animals?   

Apparently mommy cows have a disease (or threat of a disease) called Bovine Johnes disease.   These are the milking cows.  If they're diseased, does that say anything about their milk?   Should dairy consumers be a bit worried?  Or is it a disease that effects cows only?   

Well, Lord Wiki says baby cows can get it in the uterus and through udder-feeding.   So maybe breast isn't best with cows.   I would be interested in hearing the animal rights groups position on this. I'll be so glad to find out that the animal rights anti-dairy thing is just anti-animal industry propaganda.   Then I can happily go back to eating ice-cream and super cheesy nachos.  

34. Continued to read the calf page, and they say there's another reason for separation.  The sooner the better. Then there's no time for bonding.   I think there may be truth to that.   Although it would be nice if the baby and mom could be together for the full natural nursing relationship. How long is that usually?  

Wow.  It's longer than I expected.  I thought it was going to be just a few months. This University of Florida site says that beef calves in the United States are weaned at 7-8 months. I think though that this is forced weaning. I wonder how long they nurse in the wild?  

35. Started to wonder something. If this Bovine Johnes disease is such a threat, why are beef calves allowed to nurse for so long?   Is the disease not a threat to them? Or are Australian beef cows weaned immediately? Maybe only in America they're allowed to get Mommy milk for several months.   

Nope.  The RSPCA Australia page says that beef cow babies are weaned at 8-10 months usually.  

What's going on here?  What protects beef cows from disease?  

Why do I have an awful feeling that I'm NOT going to be able to return to happy guilt-free ice-cream eating?

Ah...never mind.   This Victorian Government page says the disease IS more prevalent in dairy cows than beef cows.  

I'm looking at Google and seeing it's not just a Victorian phenomena.   The same dairy over beef thing is shown in other places as well, including America.  

36. Felt sad after reading this page from Dairy Australia.  It talked about calves being transported when they're 5-8 days old.   It's one thing to imagine them being taken away from their mothers and being hand-raised by some friendly human farmers. It's another thing imagining them being shipped off to somewhere like Indonesia.  

Are dairy cows sent to Indonesia, or just beef cows?   

This page does agree with the animal rights groups who say the calves legally can be denied food for a maximum of 30 hours.  They say scientific studies have shown this is okay for the baby cows.   Maybe it is?   It does seem like an awful long time though. Oh and just to clarity, although it's legal, the animal rights groups do NOT think it's an okay practice.    

37. Searched for information on how often calves are supposed to be fed. All I can find so far is this website.  They recommend feeding the cow every 12 hours.  

38. Looked at the Animals Australia site.   On their dairy page, they don't mention the Bovine Johnes reasoning for removing the cows from their mother. It's an interesting oversight.  I would have more respect for them if they mentioned it and provided a counterargument.  

39. Saw claims on various animal rights sites that baby and mother cows bond soon after birth. I decided to read this page to get more insight into the whole thing.  It's about the maternal behavior of beef cows.  

It's interesting reading.  They talk about how the bond is very dependent on hormones, and that it's somewhat dependent on cervical stimulation. Therefore, cows removed by c-section tend to have higher incidents of maternal abandonment.   

Now I'm reading that the cow licks the baby after birth and this stimulates the bonding experience as well.  If the mother doesn't lick the baby, then mismothering is more likely to occur.  So maybe dairy farmers need to remove the baby before this licking takes place?   

40. Felt after reading about beef calves and dairy calves, that it's probably better to be a meat-eater who avoids dairy than a vegetarian who eats ice-cream and cheese.   

41. Wrote a message to Dairy Australia.   I want to know what percentage of calves are slaughtered, what percentage of the slaughtered are used for veal; and whether any of the dead animal goes completely to waste. The animal rights group makes it seem like these animals are simply trashed.  But there's maybe more to the story?  I'm hoping the dead animal is maybe used for cat/dog food?   Hey, and how about feeding them to crocodiles in the zoo?   It's mean, but those guys do have to eat!  They could kill the calf beforehand, so it doesn't have to be tortured by the croc.

Anyway, when I tried to send the message, the system complained about the phone number. It might be because I have an American number. I asked Tim if he could maybe try to find our Australian number. 

42. Tried instead using the Dairy Australia's phone number. Hopefully, they won't try to call themselves.  I don't know if it worked though. When I press submit, I just get the form again.   I don't get anything along the lines of, Thanks for your message.  We'll get back to you soon.... 

43. Read some good news from Australians who like their veal.  The RSPCA says that Australia does NOT have that horribly cruel way of raising animals for veal.

They say one way to tell evil veal from okay veal is the color. Bad evil veal meat will be white. The other type will be light pink to red.

I wonder what's the status in America?  

Lord Wiki says they're still raised the bad way, but some states are phasing out the system.  Maine is supposed to get better sometime this year.

44. Found the answers that I asked of Dairy Australia. The RSPCA has them.  You know I'm thinking maybe the RSPCA has a more balanced approach to the animal rights issue.   I might start relying on them somewhat.  

So....

They say most male dairy calves are slaughtered at five days old.  Some are not though.   Some are raised for veal production. Then about 1/4 of females are allowed to grow into adulthood so they can become milking cows.

The newborn calves who are killed are not simply trashed. They're used for leather and byproducts of the pharmaceutical companies. 

Here's where the RSPCA complains.  Before dying the animals are TREATED like trash.   The RSPCA says, Because they will very soon go to slaughter, bobby calves often do not get the same standard of housing, cleanliness, care or attention as the valuable replacement heifers or the bull calves being reared for veal. For their health and welfare, bobby calves should be fed twice a day and be housed in sheltered, clean and dry environments with room to lie down on suitable bedding. 

This makes me think many in the animal industry lack compassion for the animals.  When they treat them well, it's merely for the fact that they want them to be in good health.  Healthy animals make better meat.   If you're not going to be turning the animals into meat, don't spend any time or money on them. Treat them like crap.

I think it's really sad.

45. Read what the RSPCA wants for the baby calves.

For these reasons, the RSPCA believes bobby calves should be at least 10 days old and be fed at least four hours before being transported. Further, transport to the abattoir should be for less than 10 hours and in trucks that have protection from the elements, bedding and enough room for all calves to lie down. 

Is that not reasonable?!!!!!

And they give a reason for the ten days vs. five days.   It's not so the cute little calves can have more time on earth.  As they get older, they're following behavior improves. When they're too young, it's hard to get them to follow the herd.  And because of that, rough handling is more likely to occur.

46. Saw that the RSPCA supports the killing of cane toads....since they're known to be a invasive species.  But they believe it should be done in the most pain-free way as possible.   They give detailed instructions on how to commit cane toad murder.  It pretty much involves making the toads cold enough to render them unconscious. Then you hit them really hard in the head. Or you can stick them in the deep freezer for 2 days.

47. Read about Queensland's Toad's Day Out event.   People go around and help reduce the toad population.   It used to be done in a cruel way.   The toads were run over and hit with bats.   Now they use humane methods of euthanasia.  I like hearing that. I'd probably feel less okay about it if I had just finished reading one of Morris Gleitzman's toad books.

48. Forgot to feed the cats because my mind was so wrapped up in animal rights.   I was only about 30 minutes late though. And it's not like they're on a super strict time schedule. I try to feed them approximately ever 6 hours.

49. Compelled to say that I feel really stupid for being this vegetarian who eats dairy.   I mean I always knew that it was a little bad, but I ignorantly believed it was less bad than meat.  And I hate to say it, but sometimes I probably have had a bit of a moral superiority complex.   Now it seems I'm worse than all those meat-eaters.  Then again, they usually eat milk products too. So we're equally bad.

50. Decided to see what the RSPCA says about beef cows.  Here's their page on that.    They talk about castration and dehorning.  They're not against it; but they believe it should be done by a veterinarian under anaesthetics.

They're okay with identification methods that are not harmful to the animal, such as microchips.  They're not okay with hot iron branding or ear mutilation.

It seems for the most part Australian beef cows are treated okay...until they're shipped off to another country.  Now do the farmers love their cows?  Do they feel affection towards them?   I'm doubtful.   Otherwise, I think they would have put a stop to the live transport thing a LONG time ago.  

51. Changed my mind.   Beef cows might not do so well in Australia after all.   Some of them go to something called feedlots.   This is where cows are crowded together before slaughter.  The farmers try to do some last minute fattening up of the animals.

The RSPCA says, There are, potentially, some serious welfare problems associated with keeping animals in this type of intensive system. These include the restriction on the ability of animals to move around, lack of adequate shelter from the extremes of weather (especially heat), and the problems of manure buildup and wet manure. Other potential problems are associated with handling of the animals, mixing of unfamiliar animals, dust levels and feed management. The RSPCA is opposed to the confinement of animals in ways that unreasonably restrict their movements and normal behavioural patterns, and that result in unacceptable risks to their health and wellbeing. 

52. Read about the killing of baby male chickens.  They're killed at birth because they won't grow up to lay eggs.  Sometimes they're killed by maceration, and other times they're killed with poison gases.   I would have thought the maceration is worse, but the RSPCA says if done quickly it's more humane.   Maybe I'm thinking of the wrong definition of maceration. I'm picturing some kind of chopping process—like a blender.

Well, Lord Wiki says I'm right. That's what it is. How can that not be horrible?

The thought of being chopped up into little pieces doesn't quite appeal to me. I guess if it happens quick, maybe it's not that bad?  I don't know.

Anyway, the RSPCA answers the question someone asked me the other day. Why aren't the male chickens turned into chicken meat?   The answer is they come from a different breed of chicken.   Still.  Might they not taste okay?  

53. Felt horribly guilty (and stupid) because I allegedly made a negative comment to my cousin when she ordered veal when we went out to dinner.   I don't remember it, but that doesn't mean anything.   We all know I have a horrible memory.  So here I was questioning her veal ordering and I was probably ordering some damn meal that had cheese in it.  Well, the cow who gave the milk might have been treated fairly okay. But there's a good chance her babies had a very short and uncomfortable life.  

I do still feel validated at thinking nasty thoughts about my family when they eat veal.  They're eating the American type. So there!    

54. Decided maybe I can imagine the cheese in my meal came from the cow who gave birth to the veal that my cousin ate. Maybe he had a fairly short life, but it was a wonderful one with rolling hills and smiling farmers. Then they came together at our dinner table. 

I must note again that as I don't remember the dinner conversation, I also have no memory of what I ate that night.   Maybe it didn't even involve cheese.  I doubt that though. 

55. Wanted to note (for the record) that I usually do NOT comment on people's food choices at the table.  I usually keep the nasty comments in my head.