Pienaar's Soap Box



GETTING ON MY SOAPBOX: MY FIRST BLOG!

I have been threatening to write a Sustainable Agriculture and Related Livestock Topics Blog for ages now. But it has always been far easier to sermon my long suffering congregation of two, Tess (My Wife) and Rex (The Indulged Farm Hound). Anybody that has met me would know I’m never shy of offering an opinion. It might not always be solicited or particularly well received, but it’s my opinion non the less. But in the same breath, I am always open to a very ROBUST debate of my opinions, especially if facilitated with a tipple. I have even been known to concede a point or two in Leap Years.

But that being said, putting your toes into the Online Waters; is akin to going for a Swim at Llundudno Beach after a South Easterly Wind. Brave, Very Brave indeed! And additionally to having thus exposed myself, I am also fully expecting to be eviscerated by the ever lurking Great Whites. In this case portrayed by the fervent zealots from both the Self Serving Right (Agro-Industrial Complex) and the Self Righteous Left (PETA, Vegans and Associated Liberal-Fascist’s). Because let’s be honest, it is very seldom one is allowed to be a Fence Sitter in this populist day and age. Fence-Sitters were once also referred to as Moderates, in more tolerant times.

Which is why I will allow comments, as it is only fair to give people the chance to respond if they feel they need to, but I am not going to provide a platform for an All-In Online Bigoted Brawl, so I will not be posting any comments, no matter how much I appreciate them (I might drop you a private email though if moved to do so). Somehow the modern online connected world has managed to have made Sticks and Stones totally redundant...

So now that we have established that I’m not shy on giving my opinion, am intent on tweaking some noses, expect to receive hate mail and most importantly you are still reading. What is it I will be writing about?!


SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

(SPECIFICALLY: LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL WELFARE)

It is a term that is in my opinion unfortunately is fast becoming overused, worn out and clichéd. Mostly thanks to the Marketing Types that put it through the Buzzword Mill and quite frankly misuse it a lot of the time. Sustainable agriculture is a very complex topic and deals with a myriad of disciplines and topics that deserves a Blog Post all of its own (Which I endeavor to do first up). But it is a very relevant and important subject in our current struggles to grapple with our environment and the pressures we put on it whilst also trying to feed the ever multiplying world population. Maybe the reason it is so easy to misuse the term is that to me Sustainable Agriculture currently represents a debate, the testing of new ideas and the seeking of alternatives to the status quo, rather than a definitive answer.

Within this broad and complex topic the issues that interest me most and are close to my heart are those revolving around Livestock Production and Farm Animal Welfare. YES you CAN both eat them and still care at the same time!!! I firmly believe holistic and sustainable systems require animal inputs to work. This statement is backed up by volumes of research. Diversified animal-crop operations are amongst the most resilient agricultural systems we have. But having said that, you cannot treat animals as Commodities!!! They are sentient beings that deserve respect, care and compassion. When you choose to farm with animals you become their custodian and must accept all the responsibilities and demands that go with it.

So with all that said and done, join me as I explore topics revolving around Sustainable Livestock Production and Farm Animal Welfare. But along the way I will also endeavor to walk the walk, showing you how we intend implementing the talk on Allendale Farm. Mistakes will be dissected, Successes will be celebrated and hopefully at the end of it all a Sustainable Farm will have been created! 

If nothing more I hope to increase awareness and stimulate debate around my two pet topics (Pun Intended). And where I fall short or act contrary to what I advocate please feel free to call me out on it, we can always discuss it over a beer...

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