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Culture shock

Posted in: Di's diary3 Comments

It’s been an interesting week, two separate trips to Sydney. One for my niece’s wedding, the other a work conference. Five days away from home and two of them away from the children. I feel as if I have sensory overload and my thoughts are scrambled but I thought writing might help me make sense of the confusion in my mind, so here goes.

In Sydney, every person I saw, I analysed. I tried to imagine the life they led, the place they called home, their values and what made them happy. I tried to picture myself in their situation and the sort of person I would be. Everywhere I looked there was food of all types and descriptions, yet all I could see was pig or chicken or cow. I marvelled at the light spectacle but shuddered at the sheer waste of power and resources. I was impressed by the sense of ordered chaos that existed, but at the same time repelled by it. At times I felt part of this pulsating entity, for the most part I felt disconnected.

I came home to my sanctuary and the plovers who attack me every afternoon when I attempt to feed the animals. I was stirred by the emergence of spring with the blooming of delicate blossoms and flowers. I was struck by the realisation that snakes will also be awakening from their long sleep and of our need to be vigilant. I endured a very physical and enthusiastic home coming welcome from Marlee and made a mental note to myself to try to be half the person that he thinks I am. And I rejoiced in the peace and solitude of the mountains.

Home sweet home

But a part of me is still in Sydney, standing on a street corner watching thousands of people eating their McDonalds, their KFC and their Hungry Jacks and feeling a growing sense of futility. Would these people ever be willing to consider the demand that they create for animals to be farmed in factory farms?  Would they care?  What would it take to make them care? Were their live already so complicated that they couldn’t possibly entertain even the mere thought? How many of them were vehemently opposed to any concept of animal rights?

I stood and watched today as the cows met the pigs through the fence and had to laugh at the look on their faces. You could almost read the quizzical expression…”what the hell are you?” and then they all touched noses. The novelty soon wore off and they went about their business, much like humans do in a similar situation. I also marvelled at the expert workmanship of the pigs wallow that they have created. It is a small pool chiselled out of the ground in a low part of the paddock, next to their water trough. It is perfectly symmetrical and just to the depth that they require and created just in time to take advantage of the spring rain we have had in the past few days. I also noted that one of the chooks has mites in her feet and needed them painted with oil.

But my mind kept reverting back to Sydney and the sheer number of people who call it home. And then I amplified the equation. Sydney is a small city in the grand scheme of things, just as Australia has a small population by world standards. The world’s population is approximately 7 billion. How could there possibly being any higher order, any plan to this mayhem?

I read with interest about an anti-fur demonstration at a Spring fashion show and noted the comments that the demonstrators impinged on peoples’ rights to wear fur. I considered the rights of people: gay rights, women’s rights, the right to bear arms, employee rights, prisoner rights, the right to life, religious rights, freedom of speech and of course the right to wear fur. In a survey conducted by the BBC in 2010, nearly four out of five people around the world even believe that access to the internet is a fundamental human right. And I weighed these rights against the rights of animals (which roughly equate to zero). I shook my head in disbelief that we continue to deny animals rights because they are not recognised as cognisant beings. That we think they are not aware, that they have no concept of the future, that they do not think or feel. I do not need scientific proof. I have always known that they are and I am reminded every time I look into their eyes, regardless of their species.


I fed up this afternoon as I do every afternoon and was greeted with warmth and gratitude by some and impatience by others. I stood there and protected our 180 kilo pig Duncan from our officious and domineering peacock Percy. I told Duncan that he must learn to stand up for himself but I know that it’s not in his nature.  As I left Duncan and walked back to the house I was struck by the dichotomy of my life. A life that I have strived to make simple, encased in a world that is so complex. My vision that is so consuming, so commanding, opposed by forces so formidable. And so the questions continue….

So as I said, its been an interesting week. I’m sure my thoughts will continue to race for quite a while and maybe that is a good thing. Nothing like a good shake-up every now and again to look at things from a different perspective. I suppose I just have to accept that I am who I am and continue plodding away on my path, writing about my animals and telling myself that we can make a difference, if we really believe in something.

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  1. Shona said on 11/09/2011 at 9:08 am

    Some of your finest writing ever Di. x

  2. sue lobsey said on 14/09/2011 at 12:12 am

    Hi Di,
    have you any updated pic of the boys?
    I’d love to see what they look like now!

  3. Margaret said on 09/10/2011 at 10:33 pm

    Written from the heart, as you always do, and very thought provoking. I have a dream of what I would like my life to be and yet, it seems so far away, but if you take it one day at a time, sometimes you can make your dreams become a reality. Keep dreaming Di and hopefully your blog will become a stepping stone towards a reality. xx

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