I must admit I usually avoid confrontation. I am a lover not a fighter as they say, but this week I have had my cranky pants on. Blame it on the hayfever, the long hours in dusty yards, the equinoxial winds or over-exposure to social media but today I am going to purge. Here are ten attitudes that really piss me off:
1. “So what do you do?” When told Brian and I own and run a beef property some people will still look at me and ask this dreaded question as though they expect I am working in town or leading the life of a lady of leisure – probably watching Days of our Lives. OK so what do I do? Let’s start with mustering, fencing, checking waters, medicating cattle, working dogs, endless paperwork, riding horses, tagging cows, calf wrangling, truck driving, tractor driving, ute driving, quad riding, horse riding, selling stock, buying stock, running a household, liaising with government ………………..
2. “Farmers are wrecking the environment” Oh please. Sure we are altering the environment out of necessity to feed and clothe the masses but altering does not necessarily mean wrecking. We take pride in managing the world around us and need to have an understanding of climate, soils, geology, water cycles, grasslands, biology and any other environmental science you care to mention. We need healthy ecosystems to survive and really, we don’t like pooping in our own nests.
3. “The government owes me a living” (Version 1) Rubbish. The government does not owe me a living. The government needs to get out of my face and let me earn a living.
4. “We need to save the red-throated, knock-kneed tree wombat” or any other single-issue agenda. OK, the red-throated, knock-kneed tree wombat may need saving but first let’s ask how it interacts with the rest of the environment. Farmers know better than anyone how complex the dance with Mother Nature can be. Nothing is black and white. Nothing exists in isolation.
5. “Ban Live Exports” the biggest single-issue stuff-up of them all. For my overseas friends let me bring you up to speed. Cattle stations in the north of Australia derive the majority of their income from the live export of animals to Indonesia. The cattle travel on well-appointed Australian owned boats, are often put in Australian controlled feedlots in Indonesia and are then sold to Indonesian abattoirs. In 2011 video footage was released of abysmal treatment of cattle in some of these abattoirs. So how did the Australian Government react? Did they take these abattoirs to task? No. Did they liaise with the Indonesian Government to try and rectify these problems? No. Instead they shut down the entire live export market in Australia. Overnight. Cattle were left on wharves in Australia waiting for a boat that did not come. Cattle were left on stations that could no longer support their numbers during the wet season. Everything got very messy very quickly. Of course farmers are against animal cruelty, crikeys some of the animals on this place get treated better than I do, but where does the chain of responsibility end? If you sell puppies for a living and I buy one and drown it, should you be put out of business?
6. “The government owes me a living” (Version 2) While I would love to hear how you are creating a sustainable, renewable and recycled world, if you have the time to do this because you are living on unemployment benefits – stop talking. Get back to me when you are creating a sustainable, renewable, recycled world under your own steam.
7. “What part of New Zealand are you from” Let’s get one thing straight here: Brian is the Kiwi, I am the Aussie. Apparently I have picked up a bit of his accent over the years, and although I love my Kiwi friends dearly I am 100% Aussie. This is as bad as asking an American what part of Canada they are from (or vice versa).
8. “You wouldn’t know how to do it, you’re a girl” Stand back and get ready for a blue. A condescending remark or implication of this nature just makes me want to claw your eyes out.
9. “Well Brian it is like this” Hello, there are two people running this show. When I am standing right beside my husband do not direct all your farm conversation to him. Or I’ll claw your eyes out as well.
10. “You must be watching Days of Our Lives” If I am inside in the middle of the day there is a fair chance I am working. Ever heard of the saying “working on the business, not working in it”. Bookkeeping, cattle marketing, government compliance, ordering supplies, emails, internet cattle auctions etc etc are more easily accomplished in the office than in the paddock.
And we don’t even get TV so I can’t watch Days of Our Lives, though after this week the thought is tempting. Rant over. Now where’s the wine?