Thursday, July 28, 2011

When to tell the kids

I was listening to a program on ABC local radio yesterday and the announcer posed the question “When should city kids be introduced to the realities of where their meat comes from” or something to that effect.  She told a story about how her kids witnessed branding and ear tagging for the first time.  Apparently, they kept saying “oh the poor cows” for days after, and refused to eat meat when they realised it came from a beast.

I don’t know how common this occurrence is but we have a staff member with us who is vegetarian because she stopped eating meat at age five when she learned where it came from.  She has no problem doing any of the work on this property including cutting up a beast but she refuses to even try a taste of beef after all this time.

I want to respond to the question of “when is the right time” with a concept, not of time but of “what is the right way.”  Perhaps witnessing branding should not be their first experience, but if it is, how you respond might be important.

When kids fall over, they look to you for a reaction.  If you make a big fuss they will often start to cry.  If you laugh and say “up you get” lightheartedly, chances are, they will laugh too and get up and continue playing.  I’d like to propose that the same principle is employed when dealing with issues of where meat comes from.

I’m not saying that you should make light of killing animals or anything like that but lets put it in perspective.  If your child witnesses the branding process (and it is heartwrenching), we can tell the kids that it is the same as when they go to the doctor to get a needle.  It only hurts for a minute and by tomorrow they will have forgotten about it.  It makes sure that the cattle don’t get lost and don’t get sick.  Isn’t that a good thing?

As for not eating meat because it means cattle have to die.  You can explain that everything dies eventually.  Also, if nobody ate meat then there would be no reason for graziers to raise cattle.  They wouldn’t get to live at all.  All grazing land would need to be converted to farming land for crops and any animal that came near would be destroyed to save the crops.  I personally would prefer to have cattle in the world.  That’s why I eat beef.  Plus it tastes good and keeps me strong.

So when is the right time?  I reckon as soon as possible.  Jessica saw a beast cut up for dog meat yesterday and at nearly 6 months old, it didn’t phase her.  But if your kids are older perhaps wait until they can understand the concepts outlined above.  That’s just my opinion though.  I welcome discussion on this issue.  Please respond if you agree or disagree.


For more by the author look for Tissues in My Pocket on

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Old Journal Entry 2010

I started a journal last year, thinking that it would make for a good book later on down the track.  I only got three entries in before packing it in it seems.  I've decided that I should write a blog but nothing significant happened today so here's one of the old ones.  This is my entry for 13/5/2010.

I hate getting lost.  The feeling of helplessness and having to continually change your decisions are almost too much for me.  But I wasn’t lost today.  I knew exactly where I was.  I just didn’t know where the road was or the creek crossing I was trying to find.

Jim wasn’t home today.  He’s in town watering the grass on the Polocrosse fields for this weekend’s tournament.  He left me a list of jobs to do while he was away.  Nothing major.  He just wanted me to take some hay out into the cow paddock.  You’d think that would be easy wouldn’t you? 

The calves have recently been weaned.  Their mothers have been sent back to their respective home paddocks and we’ve kept the weaners around the house to keep an eye on them.  Also to keep them relatively quiet (tame) we should be giving them feed every day or so.  They then learn not to fear you or the vehicle and don’t run away.  That’s the theory.

In practice, it’s not so easy.  Especially if Jim spends most of his days in town preparing for the polocrosse carnival and isn’t home to work the cattle.  I managed to get the hay into the trailer on the back of the bike and to get out into the cow paddock, but I couldn’t see very many cattle.  I decided to go across the creek but I couldn’t find the crossing or the road leading to it and spent a good hour driving around an empty paddock.  This is tricky in itself because the paddock has been cleared but not raked.  There are an enormous amount of logs all over the ground and you don’t see them until you’re on top of them because the dry strawlike grass is four feet tall.  I’ll tell you what, the sooner I put up some street signs in this place the better.  It’s hard enough finding the roads out here when you’re on them.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Author Page #amwriting

Hi Everyone, 

Check out my new Author Profile at  It's getting pretty exciting here in cyberspace.  I've sold 3 books so far.  No guesses as to who bought them (Thanks guys).  I almost feel like a true professional in the industry now. When I get some time between doing cattle work and looking after the little one, I'll put up some of my children's books.  Stay Tuned!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My new book - Tissues in My Pocket

Hi everyone, I just published my book Tissues in My Pocket online with
Here's the link Or you can just search for the title.  Cool huh. If you've read it or one of my drafts, you could help out by posting a review.  Thanks, Shell