Why Are People So Unkind?

I am always completely taken by surprise when I learn a company I need to deal with has a business model that works on taking down the little man.

We have been waiting for a while for some cows to start this Wagyu journey.  Two days ago we got the call we’ve been waiting for.

“We have found some cows, they’ll be there Tuesday.”

Hubby asked where they came from. The cagey answer made hubby wonder what they had to hide.

It wouldn’t be good business if we didn’t do our homework.

You see, we recently made a substantial purchase of cattle through a large “reputable” dairy cattle dealer.  Of the 40, 3 are empty (of those 2 have infections that may or may not be treatable thus maybe not be able to breed), 1 arrived with a massive abscess on her udder so she will never go into the herd, 1 died from an infection in her uterus she had when she arrived, 2 had damaged legs we have treated, and we’ve found 3 so far with udder and teat problems.

Will the dealer or the previous owner do the right thing? At this time – no. That’s 1/4 of that purchase with problems.

Close to $20,000 down the drain.

So hubby rang around – he knows everyone! – and found the source of the cows. Alarm bells started ringing as this herd has a major mastitis problem. We have just spent 2 years and untold dollars ridding ourselves of a strep mastitis (untreatable) we inherited from yet another bad investment. Seeing a pattern here….

We aren’t getting those cows – end of story!

But it made me think of other big players taking advantage of the little person.

Our two big grocery stores have done a great deal of harm to the dairy industry and fresh produce in general.

Coles has recently been caught out gloating over what a success the $1 litre milk campaign was.

Tamar Valley Dairy in Tasmania has gone into receivership, in part due to supplying ‘Private Label’ yogurt to Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.

Both Woolworths and Coles have joined the animal rights activists groups on their anti factory farming crusade with little thought given to the practicalities of caged hens or sow stalls or those who borrowed money on the contracts that are cancelled.

Coles spent a fortune advertising ‘no added hormone beef’, when in reality there is more hormone found in soy and eggs.

Paul Shoker, a Twitter friend with a farm near Coffs Habour who supplies supermarkets with fresh bananas, avocados and other fresh produce, has also mentioned he has basically given his product away at times as the price was so low.

We produced 67 litres more milk in September than August and were paid $3828 less. We’ve lost $0.1543/litre off our base price on 66,000+ litre average monthly volume since July. Yet we were told in July there was less milk being produced than they needed.

But it doesn’t seem to be a local thing either.

Recently in the USA, a company named Panera Bread thought it would be a great idea to tell the world how lazy the people who grow chickens are if they give their sick animals antibiotics.

‘Irish Farmerette’ Lorna recently wrote a blog after watching a local TV presenter tell their audience that there is no difference between the cheap milk and the more expensive brand. Lorna questions why people would spend less on such a great protein while still buying other rubbish that can’t even be considered food.

The most fantastic thing has happened though – farmers world wide have discovered social media and aren’t afraid to use it!! Through this we can give the consumers another view – our view. The view from the coal face as it were.

We live in a world where too many kids believe milk comes from a bottle. Nobody seems to want to know where their food comes from or how its grown.

Where $2 is plenty for 2 litres of milk, but $1.25/litre for sugar, preservatives, other nasty’s and water is acceptable.

Where consumers are only willing to pay $1/kg for locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables but will pay $30/kg for imported lollies.

Where we need a survey to establish how we tell our kids where meat comes from.  I guess some parents believe this should be taught in schools too.

And where a ‘family friendly’ recipe  suggests If your kids don’t want to touch the meat or bone, cut it up into small pieces.

In a nutshell, all consumers seem care about is the price.

If only everyone had a go at farming. Even for just a day or two.

Go help Paul carry bunches of bananas up the sides of steep hills.

And I invite anyone who thinks $1 is a great price for a litre of milk to come work with us for a day. Be here at 4.30am because that’s when we leave the house. Lunch is often an optional extra. And make sure nobody expects you home before 9pm….

I just thought I would throw this article in.  Sort of sums it up really.

Apologies for all the links…

7 thoughts on “Why Are People So Unkind?

  1. Great post Allison – I’m passionate about getting more farmers blogging and using twitter – it’s the only way we, as individuals, can slowly educate consumers about what it going on and sometimes, an influential bloggers such as Dairy Carrie can gather momentum like she did with the Panera Bread fiasco. We can’t rely on politicians or even the farmer groups or the farming media – too many of them seem to be influenced by their advertising revenue and politics. I’m delighted to see you are blogging 🙂


  2. Yes Allison – sadly fair is never equal and we have to remain every vigilant in our purchases


  3. I’ve heard on the grape vine that they are going to close the factory on the Atherton Tablelands next June/July … where does that leave all the dairy farmers up there. What has happened to our society, why don’t we value those who provide for our basic needs.


    • Its rather scary to think Anne. The farmers the floods didn’t wipe out are slowly walking away due to unrealistic milk prices. They told us at the same supplier meeting that fresh milk in Qld is all but history, especially in outback towns.
      A grass roots campaign is starting to teach kids about food and fibre production. I think that’s a great place to start.
      We need the media reporting on what really goes on, not what fringe animal rights campaigners say is going on.
      We need to do something about getting a fair price for a good product. Most of the ‘cowboys’ are gone now, leaving mostly efficient famers in most sectors.
      Another thing we can do is promote the wonderful farmers blogging about their lives. Show people the other, less romantic, sometimes funny, always hard work side of agriculture in Australia.
      And above all we need to promote our product as the best available.


    • Google won’t tell me – which factory?


  4. […] for a while was to rear Wagyu calves for the Japanese market, but the people we were dealing with treated us like idiots, so that didn’t […]


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