Sunday, June 20, 2010

Far from the land

A good article by Amanda Cropp in yesterday's Your
Weekend magazine about the employment of migrant
workers, mostly from the Philippines, on Canterbury
dairy farms. It's clear from what Cropp writes that the
bigger the farm and the less linked to the land its
owners—ie, if it's a foreign-owned 'corporate farm'—
then the more likely that workers will be exploited
and the animals ill-treated and neglected. She quotes
a farmer saying that '500 to 600 cows is still a family
operation, but once it's 1000 it's a completely
different ball game.' Some of the new farms being
proposed for places like the Mackenzie Basin are for
thousands and thousands of cows. What I found
most chilling in the article, though, was a passing
reference to a '14,000-cow indoor dairying unit' in
Saudi Arabia. Unit? Unit? That is battery farming,
plain, simple and barbaric.

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