Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
When I was growing up today was one of the most embarrassing school days of the year. I didn't understand why there was no part in the day for me. No one in my family was listed on the plaques. No one was on a memorial. No family stories. I remember going home to ask why we didn't have any 'heroes' in our family, soldiers who fought for our freedom, people who did their part for the greater good in time of war. When I was young I didn't understand what I do now - that my family, and my husband's family, contributed to the war efforts here on the 'home front'. Heroes can be anywhere, and ours were in the fields and community halls.
I grew up thinking we played no part, for some mysterious reason, in what we were remembering on Remembrance Day. It wasn't until I was older that my Grandpa told me the stories of how he and his friends supported those fighting the war in the fields growing grains, supporting the soldiers on leave with their band that played on the weekends.
I am proud to be the granddaughter of a farmer who worked hard during lean times to provide for his family, the families of his friends who were fighting overseas and in his time off the fields played in his band to raise spirits of those who had returned home. I am proud that they changed the name of their band often for a 'new look' and that they always played the old favorites and welcomed their friends home again with a bounty of love, food and music. I am proud that they worked hard in the fields - horses and men - to grow the crops that ensured that the mess halls had what they needed to feed the men and women seated there.
I am proud of Earl's grandpa who did the same, just on the other side of the prairies. I'm proud of everyone who stayed and worked in the farms and factories, took care of those who came home wounded and ministered to those who had no one coming home at all.
When I look at the poppies I remember the poem, I remember the images of crosses and poppies, of fields of dead. But I also look at the poppy and remember the tillers of the land, the workers who packed, shipped, ministered, sewed and laboured to support our troops.
The old generals said an army travels on its belly, and I'm proud to say that our family helped keep that belly full. I'm not ashamed on Remembrance Day anymore, I'm proud of my friends that serve and have served, I'm honoured to know their families and I will always remember the farmers who fought the odds and the weather to get their crops in on time - not just for themselves but for everyone.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I admit, I do love certain shows, and as my husband will attest some will draw me in and won't let go until the final credits roll. But sometimes I am intrigued by other parts of the show. A while back Numb3rs covered animal rights and a university setting, this time it is Bones dealing with animal rights and animal welfare at a broiler 'farm' and the spin-off of cute pig faces. The show handled as many angles as they could with their usual science, caring and humorous ways.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Editorial: Animal Welfare Questioned?
Animal welfare was highlighted at the Worldwide Food Expo, with Temple Grandin addressing the issue of vigilance regarding welfare on farm and in the slaughterhouse. This comes as a report in the US shows abuse on infant veal calves, which has shocked the industry.
A Canadian MP in now fighting for animal welfare rights in transit. Currently ruminants can be confined up to 52 hours without food or water. Alexandra Mendes, Quebec MP is asking for this to be lowered to 12 hours.
In the US, a coalition of food and consumer groups, backed by McDonald's Corp, the nation's largest restaurant user of beef, has asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban the practice of feeding poultry litter to cattle. The group believes this practice increases the risk of cattle becoming infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
In Northern Ireland beef prices paid by some processors have increased, however, there is still a difference of 33 pence a kilo between NI and mainland UK prices. The National Beef Association has said that they have tried numerous methods to increase income to beef farmers in NI, however, plans are thwarted by processors and the government. Ulster Farmers' Union recently met with Sainsburys to highlight the difficulties faced in the NI beef industry.
With the past few disastrous months for the Australian beef industry, it is little surprise, that AAco, Australia's largest cattle company has said that they do not expect any significant earnings this financial year. The company says each one per cent fall in AAco's herd valuation costs it A$4 million.