Friday, August 24, 2012

Herd mentality...

As a society, our growing level of apathy is astounding. We are collectively receiving exactly what we asked for - in fact what we deserve. The supermarket chains have been eagerly filling our need for convenience since the 70's. In the process the multi-nationals have strengthened their position in the market place to the point of an absolute stranglehold. Today in Australia, we see the two main players enjoying over 80% of sales in the retail sector.

Despite my best efforts over the past 6 months, to create an awareness of the truth behind raw milk, I have overwhelmingly underperformed. My message has fallen largely on deaf ears, barring a select group of health enthusiasts, who have consistently followed my work. Without being intentionally cynical - I feel as though it suits the 'herd' to retain the status they can whinge about it. Honestly, the opportunity I've provided for people to have their voices heard, and make a positive impact on the supply chain and supermarket dominance has been discarded. As we continue to abide by archaic laws that contribute to a rapidly growing health crisis - we are reassured by our favourite supermarkets.....

Hi Tracey, we just wanted to let you know that we have strong relationships with all of our producers and suppliers across the primary industries sector and strongly believe that delivering value to consumers has to be balanced with a sustainable return for the producer. We appreciate your feedback and thank you for getting in touch. Thanks

Yes - that is the standard response on their Facebook page to the many concerned posts (relating to price cutting, first Milk, then Fruit & Veg, now Lamb). As a producer in one of these primary industries....well, I am so grateful that they have our best interests at heart. They are so good to the farmer - I'm not sure how we can ever repay them......(no - I do not understand or use SARCASM!!!)

And then there is the very knowledgeable consumer, who already knows...everything. I'm sure Garrett won't mind me quoting him - since he posted this as a response to one of my blogs.

Garrett Wells (friends with Matthew Arkinstall) commented on your link. Garrett wrote: "Yeah, you're all right, it never hurt you, and asbestos was once thought of as safe, DDT was the best thing going, and lead paint gave a finish that couldn't be beat...the bacterium contained in raw milk and dangerous, and in some cases can be deadly, the only difference, is that we now KNOW, beyond a doubt that they are harmful to humans, if you want to drink it, buy your own cow and milk it, but don't try to preach your outdated doctrine to the rest of the world who are intelligent enough to realise that pasteurized milk is far safer"

Yes Garrett, 95% of the rest of the world can buy raw milk legally. That would at least place you in the top 5% (intellectually) according to your knowledge of pasteuerized milk?

As did Joanne -
Joanne Coulter commented on your link. Joanne wrote: "How on earth can Milk be dead. Milk is merely a product. what you do with it will determine the outcome. For starters pasteurisation does not alter the nutritional value of the milk. And yes the risks may appear less than in the past but also the number of people milking their cows and selling to the public is so much less also. Another thing you are all forgetting. Those on the farms in the past did bring their milk to the boil which is the same pasteurizing milk so to claim that they are doing something different to what the current milk processing is doing is incorrect. If you don't bring the milk to the boil you are only putting yourself at risk. Most remember drinking milk on the farm but have forgotten than Mum did bring the milk to the boil. Yes we all drank straight from the bucket if just milked but if it was to be stored it had to be brought to the boil."

Gramatically well written Joanne - at least I didn't have to run spellcheck over yours (as I did for Garrett). As for the content, I would suggest it is somewhat devoid of fact! 

Sadly, we are dealing with this level of public awareness. Opinions that are not validated, yet obviously maintained. We are also battling the multi-national companies (who continue to post record profits, while claiming to offer both the consumer and the supplier a fantastic deal....). All the while - hundreds of thousands of average Australian citizens are drinking raw milk every single day. Remarkably they are neither getting sick, or dying.

Without a strong surge of public sentiment, one thing is absolutely certain - FSANZ will not review the existing laws surrounding the food safety of raw dairy products.

We do what we know. When we know better - we do better.


ps.....I'll still be drinking RAW MILK (of the unboiled variety) regardless

Monday, August 13, 2012

Reality Check...

Feeling a little sombre and somewhat overwhelmed. Much as I love my life, wife, family and farm...hard to explain. Maybe just the culmination of a few things this weekend? I think that I just need to put these feelings out there to let go.

Yesterday, on 7's Sunday Night, I was looking forward to a story about Raw Milk. I certainly got caught off guard by the first story - about bullying. It was quite devestating to watch Olivia's story unfold (of which I was previously unaware). Having personally come out the other side of clinical depression, I will be forever grateful that suicidal tendancies never had a hold over me. I feel so powerless to help, despite the empathy I have for those battling mental health issues.

So often, with the benefit of hindsight, we relfect on the obvious signs, and lack of action we could have taken. I now find myself with a heightened awareness of subtle signs in another's struggles. That still doesn't put me in a position to make the difference I'd sometimes like. I simply don't have the tools required. While I was always open about my condition during recovery - I will just as openly suggest that someone seek proffessional help, or simply ask if they're ok. Some have acted on my advice - others were unwilling to receive help. So be it. You simply cannot force a lasting recovery on someone who is not yet ready.

There is not doubt that the experience of depression is as real as it is different for all who have suffered it. Irrational and ilogical thoughts make perfect sense, as they run on an endless loop. Seeing clear of the 'fog haze' seems an unreasistic goal. The physical fatigue leaves you thinking there may only be months left to live. An attempt of suicide may be the inevitable conclusion - when viewed as the obvious...or in fact only solution. From the outside, we can never justify such action. We will never understand this path. From within - it was undoubtably the selfless outcome by which all others would benefit. If only they knew the truth.

The saddest reality is that a victim's best intentions to leave a lasting impression doesn't hit the intended target - to make a stance - to prove a point. Their internal thoughts are so severely corrupted, that their subsequent actions are equally misplaced. Their 'truth' is...false. Their desire to impress those who care least becomes overwhelming. In Olivia's case - the bully could care less. Bullies thrive on the knowledge that pain has been inflicted - they did 30 years ago - they will in 30 years time. Mission accomplished.

Enough of the excuses! We live in denial - and justify actions. Pointing the finger...laying blame...What ever happened to good old fasioned 'responsibility'? Maybe the time has come for its reintroduction to mainstream acceptance?

As a society, we seem to be focusing all our energies on the wrong end of the problem - the BULLY! Why feed their need with any sort of recognition? The victims should be comfortable in the knowledge that they need not feel compelled to seek approval or acceptance of bullies. That message needs to be instilled years in advance. A strong sense of self - an even stronger sense of unconditional love.

Beyond that remains a helplessness that will exist forever.