I just need to let farmers know that they haven’t been forgotten.
I’m hearing reports of vegans attacking farmers and their farms, and I just feel I need to respond to that.
It’s been a long time since I drafted cattle on my family’s cattle farm, and my hands are way too soft these days to call myself a farmer… but still, there’s a couple of hundred thousand people on this data-base, and so I feel I have a duty to give farmers a voice right now.
And I guess you might expect me to take the piss out of vegans or something here. But I won’t. I actually get where they’re coming from. They love animals. They’re motivated by a love for animals. I get that.
But I get that because I’ve been a farmer. I spent my early years on cattle and sheep properties around central Queensland. I grew up around country people. A love for animals is central to everything you do.
And I know that might be hard for city folks to understand. There’s this perception that farmers treat their animals the way multinational corporations treat their workers or baristas treat coffee beans – as just another resource in the pursuit of profit.
But it’s just not true. You love the animals in your care. The burden of responsibility sits heavily on your shoulders. And when you loose stock to drought or flood, it breaks your heart. I’ve seen it bring men and women – as upright and as strong as fence-posts – to tears.
And so there is love there. But it is a love grounded in the cycles of the earth – living and dying, birth and rebirth. It’s not a love that gives you vanity dog breeds and Instagram accessories. I’m talking about a dragging-a-cow-out-of-the-mud-and-muck-at-3a.m type love.
And seriously, I am just so ashamed of how we treat our farmers these days. This isn’t just for the vegans, but for all of us. It’s for the Australia that turned its back on the bush and decided that it didn’t want to do real work anymore. That was someone else’s job.
Hell, I’m ashamed of myself. I got into property because as a single mother, I just needed to find the quickest and easiest way to make money I could find. And now you just couldn’t pay me enough to go back to the land – to go back to that endless work, to go back to the floods and the droughts and the endless heartbreak.
I know I’m just not strong enough these days.
How many of us are?
None except those who are doing it.
And they’re doing it even though they get no thanks, no financial return and no support. Suicide rates in rural communities are beyond tragic. The financial pressures of the land are beyond horrendous.
So please. Please. Leave the farmers alone.
And I get your passionate about your cause. I get that you want to ‘do something’.
But pick your targets. Why not come at comfortable city folks to make your point? Why not come at me?
If you want to storm my water-side dining experience and rub my nose in my steak and say ‘bad girl’ – I give you permission. Go for it.
Just leave the farmers alone.
And if you want to bail me up at Woollies and get that gross bit of absorbent plastic you get in a packet of lamb chops, and slap me around the face with it. Go for it. Go nuts.
Just leave the farmers alone.
And if you want to break up the economic model that is constantly squeezing farmers in the name of bigger profits for retailers and cheaper products for consumers – a model that never leaves farmers with enough space of mind to think about ways to care for their animals better, go for it. Oh man, go for it. Please.
BUT LEAVE THE FARMERS ALONE.
We turned our backs on our farmers. Even though they were literally putting food on the table, we abandoned them to the ravages of weather, distance and economics.
Farming communities are doing it tough.
And I’m not going to stand by and watch us add insult to injury.