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Published: August 6th 2007
Just got back from a week Easter Break in the Outback and have new stories to tell.
We didn’t get bogged this time on the way to Wyandra. We made it there safe and sound in just over 10hours drive from Brisbane. We stayed at the century old cottage across the Wyandra pub. We always enjoyed having breakfast, lunch and dinner at the veranda and watch the sun go down late in the afternoon as the sky turns into different shade of blue, orange, red and purple. Wyandra is a very small sleepy town. All you can see are red earth, native wildlife, the town pub and few rustic houses. Nonetheless, it’s a nice countryside retreat to unwind and escape life in the city. Visit to McDonald’s Farm
- We’ve been once again invited to the McDonald’s farm.
This time for a BBQ lunch and witness sheep-shearing, tail-docking, tagging and castrating….boys beware ! ;>
The sheeps are shaved with a very sharp electric scissors and sometimes they get cut during the shearing process. After being stripped of its fleece, the sheeps are dipped into chemically treated pool of water to fight infections and insects infestation. Flystrike is
a major health problem for the sheeps. Flies burrow their maggots into the sheep’s behind causing infection. To combat the disease, graziers perform tail-dogging - removal of the tail of the sheep by tying the tail with rubber band to cut the blood circulation and subsequently cause the tail to fall off. Similar procedure is also used to "castrate" unruly ram. Early this year, Pink
expressed her outrage on another practise called mulesing
- removal of the skin folds from the sheeps’ behind without anaesthetic to combat fly strike. She urged the world to boycott the Australian wool industry because of such practice. The American singer later on retracted her comments due to the fact that she hasn’t done her research and fully understood the issue. She simply wants people to ban animal cruelty. Australians are one of the most animal loving people I’ve ever known. I have yet to meet an Aussie kid who doesn’t want to be a zoologist, marine-biologist or a park-ranger.
Mrs. McDonald drove us around their property and showed us the remains of hundreds of sheep that have been culled in 1990 during the crash of the wool industry. Australia was the world’s largest
producer of wool at the time having more than 170 million of sheep in the country. One of the basic law of economics - High Supply with Low Demand results in Price to plummet.
The Australian government urged the graziers to cull their livestock. The government offered a subsidy of $2 per sheep that was culled. It was painful for the graziers to kill their own sheeps so they contracted a business to do the culling for them. That business owner is now apparently a multi-millionaire.
Liam got along really well with Isabel and Xavier (the daughter and youngest son of the McDonalds). I can’t help but to notice Xavier's scars from his neck down to his chest. He’d been in an accident when he was just a toddler. Boiling hot water was accidentally poured over him as he reached over the stove.
Isabel and Xavier also showed us their new puppies in a pen just 10m away from the shearing shed. The puppies are so adorable and being trained to be sheep-dogs. Fishing Day
- We dug up earthworms from the backyard for baits. We turned worm digging into a game - who can spot a
worm first ;>.....Needless to say, I found it quite exciting spotting and pulling out worms from dirt…..yes, I too can be a weirdo .
If patience is a virtue…then it is a trait I have yet to acquire. Fishing is really not my thing as it requires a lot of patience. Jamie loves fishing ‘coz he’s got the virtue. He can sit for hours waiting for his big catch of the day.
I, on the other hand, would rather take a nap under a tree. We went home with three fish that day….and not one to my account .
On a last note, livestock maintenance and processing is a way of life in the farm. One could easily conceive that some of the "processing" practices as cruel. But then again, should we all have a second thought everytime we visit KFC, McDonalds or take a bite of that porkchop and juicy steak ?........hmmmmmmm ????....cheers ! ;>
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