Well as you may have read a few blogs ago Helen and John were away back and forth a lot last week. However,  on Friday morning they left and I did not see them again still Monday evening. Therefore, I went 3 days without seeing a human-being! You may think, aww poor Nicole but, an actual fact I didn't mind it at all. It was nice just to be out here on my own, I don't actually mind it any more, I don't feel or get scared like I used too. In saying that though, it was nice to have them home again. :) 
It is now Wednesday night and I am on my way to bed. The last 3 days have been good. Monday I spent the day out in the bush fencing away (same ol' really), and yes I am getting a bit tired of fencing but you gotta do what you gotta do. Tuesday John and I spent the day running out lick, fixing water pipes, and a few other things-- can't remember off the top of my head... but it was nice to get a break from fencing and it is always good working with John... poor guy fell over and got completely soaked! Lol Today the three of us; John, Helen, and I cleaned out the storage room, and did a bit of inventory on things we will be needing for the yard. We also fixed a few more water pipes, welding on some gates and some other lil' things that needed to be done. Tomorrow we will be back at it again. Things are going to be getting pretty busy around here as we are in preparation for getting the cattle mustered and put through the yard-- lets say the next 6 weeks approx! Oooo I am stoked!!!! 
Had a roast dinner tonight, Helen cooks a mean (very very yummy) roast... sorry mum but it is some tasty!! Well it's getting late... crap... I need to get sleep, we've all been feeling a bit flat around here the last few days. Lol Till next time -Nikki x
 
 
MEAT and Livestock Australia says the dedicated and effective work of professionals to improve animal welfare in other countries where Australia exports live animals, has been overshadowed by animal activists determined to demonise the trade and have it shut down.

Reflecting on events of the past 12 months in the live export industry and the various claims made about his organisation by the likes of Animals Australia and others, MLA Managing Director Scott Hansen pleaded for a more accurate and informed understanding about his organisation’s role within the industry and its performance.

Mr Hansen said for many years Australian stockman and veterinarians have worked in Indonesia and other countries to improve animal welfare.

The majority of them were funded by cattle and sheep producers through their marketing and research services company MLA.

He said they won't get the positive press profile of some activists who visit the market “with a camera in hand”.

But they have been duly recognised by the independent reviewers who have conducted different inquiries on behalf of the Australian government and people.

Mr Hansen said the Independent Review of the Live Export Trade by former Indonesian envoy Bill Farmer (established in response to the animal cruelty issues raised in the ABC Four Corners program on May 30 last year), stated that “the activities of MLA and the operation of the Live Export Trade Animal Welfare Program, have led to improvements”.

In addition, it said “based on the Review’s visits and observations in markets in the Middle East and South-East Asia, it is evident that significant animal welfare gains have been achieved in some markets with a longstanding Australian export presence, including through MLA’s regional representation and Australian investment in animal welfare improvements”.

The independent reviewers went so far as to say, “the review was impressed by the professional commitment to improving animal welfare conditions shown by MLA employees”.

Mr Hansen said the independent reviewers acknowledged the work of cattle and sheep producers’ service company staff, MLA staff - under the direction of industry representatives and working alongside the commercial customers - was improving animal welfare in foreign countries.

He said it was also important to note that information and reports relating to this work have always been publicly available, “contrary to some claims”.

Mr Hansen said the Australian government's new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System had now provided a regulatory driver to hasten the compliance to international animal welfare standards.

He said MLA-funded animal welfare experts in Indonesia continue to be invited by many exporters and Indonesian importers to assist them in meeting the new requirements.

“It is important to remember that MLA is a service provider, it is not a government agency and has no regulatory powers and does not buy or sell any animals,” he said.

“The dedicated professionals, who continue to be invited into facilities night after night in Indonesia, are armed with no regulatory powers and no commercial power.

“They are armed with nothing more than their expertise and desire to try to influence the way in which animals are handled in a foreign country.

“They are the ones who step in when they see poor handling - not to take photos - but to stop it and try to educate the handlers on different handling approaches.

“In my eyes these are the people who are truly dedicated to improving animal welfare.”

Animals Australia has made various claims about MLA including that they should be made to pay the compensation claims that are currently being pursued by live exporters and cattle producers who suffered financial damage from the snap suspension and not the Federal government, who the claims are against.

The animal rights group also believes MLA were aware of the situation on the ground in Indonesia and failed to advise producers of the risks that their animals would face and what were routine slaughter methods there.

Animals Australia investigator Lyn White says MLA installed the 102 Mark I restraint boxes which facilitated much of the “cruelty” in Indonesia and which have now been banned.

“They were the organisation which betrayed the trust of the producers and at whose door responsibility firmly lies,” she said.


Personal Response:

It's been a year now since the ban happened on the live export and the owner's of the cattle station where I am currently are still dealing with the damage. I am against the cruelty of animals and I know the owner's here are as well, as I see how the cattle are handled when they are put through the yard and to add to that, Australia is one of the top countries for animal welfare. I have seen some of these animal cruelty video's-- most of them are filmed in countries where there isn't even human rights, so how can you began to compare how animals are treated in those countries to how they are treated in a country such as Australia. The live export ban affected many farmers throughout Australia, and hit farmers hard in the Northern Territory where most of the cattle are exported to Indonesia. Even with the ban these stations still had to run, cattle still had to be put through the yard... basically working with no income. I think its important to have people who care for the welfare of animals, I would hope that most people are born with those ethics. However, when animal rights people step in like they did with the ban on live export they not think about the people they would affect. When you change something in the system is affects everything. In another article, it was questioned if animal activists actually paid Indonesian workers to abuse the animals.(http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2011/s3289826.htm) It makes you wonder how far people will go...
All in all its important to ge



 
 
Been a few days, just enjoying my day off however, I have been sitting here all morning working on my paper-- my eyes are red but I have finally finished and e-mailed it to my prof. John and Helen have been away all weekend. It hasn't been to bad being here alone, I am actually quite used to it now. The dog "Bill" slept in my room with me on his bed the last few nights so I felt safe and secure. Plus praying always helps too. :) The last few days since I wrote last have been pretty much the same just fencing away, taking the rubbish to the dump etc. Helen brought me back a tub of ice cream from town the other day which was very nice. However, as much as I miss have these things I actually prefer not to have them while I am out here. Being out here you kind of cleanse your body of all the shit that you put into it. Regardless, I will eat the ice cream but I am going to make it last until I leave. Being out here also makes me realize how much time I spend thinking about food and worrying about what I eat! Lol. It is cool and windy here today. Anyway's, just enjoying a cup of tea. Have lots of things to be working on, time is flying by. I am now starting my 7th working week which means I am almost at the half mark-- as I have stated before I am here for a total of 15 weeks. This also means that it is not to far away till Uni starts up again and than we will be off to Asia!! I am excited however, I have a lot of work to do. There is also the topic of student loan's which I dislike very much... haha Hopefully, we will be in the yard again soon... possibly next week sometime. A few things have changed with the other blokes coming so we need to really get hooked into the cattle soon. Well I might go get my laundry off the line, and possibly lie in the sun for an hour or so if it is warm enough. I am feeling tired today, I didn't have the greatest sleep lastnight, the dog was being loud. Ha! 
 
 
FUEL companies have started to notify their customers that the price of aviation fuel for mustering cattle will rise. 
Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association President David Warriner said the government’s decision not to extend the tax exemption to on-property aviation fuel was “another blow to the struggling northern cattle industry”. 
“This is on top of last year’s live export ban which effectively shut down the northern industry and the flow on of that impact is still accelerating, with Indonesian import quotas for Australian cattle at an all time low” Mr Warriner said.
Fuel companies say the rise will be aroun 9 cents per litre from July 1.
“This will not only increase the direct costs for those cattle stations that operate their own aircraft but also the companies that supply mustering services to the industry.
“It will increase the cost of production, forcing savings in other areas such as labour,” Mr Warriner said.
“It will also increase the cost of other essential operations such as fire management and monitoring; weed and pest management survey and control programs.
“Many of these operations relate to the overall wellbeing and environmental integrity of northern Australia, making the revenue raised through the tax a false economy.”
While the NTCA applauded the government’s decision to exempt other on-property fuel from the carbon tax, the possibility of on road transport fuel being taxed from 2014 is causing serious concern.
“Freight is a major part of the cost of doing business with the transport of goods and services in, and livestock out, over long distances,” Mr Warriner said.
“These costs will not only further stress families and business viability but also the competitiveness of our industry in the domestic and international markets on which we depend.”

http://www.katherinetimes.com.au/news/local/news/rural/carbon-tax-to-hit-cattle-muster-industry-hard/2589638.aspx 


Personal Response: 
I am glad to see that Canada hasn't gone forth with the whole Carbon Tax and continue subsidising fossil Fuels (Australia has the least amount of subsidies). I care about our environment and the well-being of the planet and all is living creatures including humans however, I do not agree with this tax. Sure it all sounds good in theory but when it is applied it is a different story. It is like this-- Let's say there is a government owned company that decides to put up a building, we see the building being built in all its stages and think, 'great however, what we don't see is all the small businesses that went out of business because of it or the people who lost their jobs, or who were affected. This is what is happening with the Carbon Tax. Bad Economics. When one group makes their ideas and facts sound so good and amazing however it is usually followed by many fallacies. This is what is happening in Australia with the whole green movement. Green sounds so amazing, and I think its important to have people such as this but there has to be a certain reality and I often wonder if these people are living in it? This tax is not realistic. Our economy depends on fossil fuels, everything we do in life relies on them. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, look at what fossil fuels have given us? As technology advances so does improvements for helping the environment, better people's lives etc. I don't think they are all bad.  How is it green when you are putting farmers and their families out of business? This does not just affect the price of fuel it affect's people lives. We are putting stress on the people who are producing our food, who are feeding the people... what will happen if we put them out of business? How is this good for the economy-- this will affect the cost of exporting and importing. And what about all the other jobs or people it will affect such as the trucker's who transport food.. I am for living a more sustainable life --practically. We need to live realistically, we need to stop living in this doom and gloom 
 
 
Good day today, enjoy my first beer in over a month. Yesterday was a bit of a blah day, I think I was just feeling a bit blue. However, today was good. John and Helen went into town and had to take the ute so I stayed around the house area and did some fencing which was kind of nice. I don't mind being out here alone, but it is nice when they are home. They will come home tonight than have to go somewhere tomorrow and than they will be away Friday and Saturday night. Helen's mum is coming next weekend, so that will be another face and there should be some bloke's rockin' up soon as well to start doing cattle work-- which I am excited about. Time is going quick, I am in my 6th working week out of 15 weeks so another week and a half and I will be at the half mark! I am horrible at counting down for things hahaha. Anyway's, I don't really have to much to say. It's been hot in the afternoon's but windy, haven't seen any snakes but always see kangaroo's... oh which reminds me, last week when Teagan and I were on our way home from the yards there was a wallaby on the road. We got out, it wasn't hit but it was in shock... we carried it off into the bush and put it under a tree, I think it was alright... they are so cute and much smaller than kangaroo's. Well I need to get cracking on this reading as I 
 
 
I had a wonderful day off yesterday. Man, I was just so tired out and sore from the days I spent working in the yards. I spent the day doing laundry and working on my studies. I watched a movie and I cooked tea for John, Helen and I. I made omelette's with spinach, tomato, mushroom, onion and cheese and some fried potato's... it was really yummy. Did some more reading and than I started to watch a t.v. series on my laptop. Than I went to bed... I have been having weird as dreams lately which has been affecting my sleep a bit. Hopefully they go away soon! Haha. Today I spent the morning with John dropping off lick all around the station for the cattle, came back and had some lunch and spent the afternoon fencing... what a day. If you don't like to swear (curse) than don't ever fence. I had a stressful afternoon untwisting and straining fences which was so frustrating!!!! I was some happy when 5:30 rocked up. Came back and ate a piece of dark chocolate which helped and made me feel much better! Had a shower, did my lil' workout and now I am just waiting on tea. I am hungry. Well that's it for today. Till next time. -Nikki 
 
 
Well it's been a few days! The last time I wrote was Wednesday morning... John and his son lil' John were out mustering cattle in the helicopters while Teagan and I spent the day fencing. We were fixing up the boundary fence and Teagan had to get into the water... hahaha so she took are sock, boots and jeans off and in she went! Talk about getting involved! It's been bloody hot here the last few days... I almost joined her!! So Wednesday wasn't to exciting, we got to bed early to get a good rest for Thursday which was a very invigorating day in the yard-- yarding up the cattle, drafting them, putting them up the raceway and through the crush. Very hard and dangerous work, you always need to be on your feet and aware of what's going on at all times or you could get run over very easily. I absolutely love every moment in the yard and I love learning about and working the cattle! 
Thursday morning we got up and had breaky, than we get the smoko box organized: tea, coffee, and some fruit. Get water, and all the things we will need for the yard such as vaccinations, etc. Head up to the yards.. I think we had about 1000+ head of cattle in the yard this time, get everything set up and than we start yarding them up and once the different yards are full we began drafting them such as cows, bulls,, heifers, steers, and so on (I am going to do a write up in a bit more detail to help better understand, I will keep you posted). Once we have drafted through a few we than put a mob through the race way, give them their vaccinations, de-horn, etc. Most of the cattle we had in the yard this mob were heifers (female calves from last year), and cows. Steers will be going through the yard next. Again I will explain all this lingo in a more in depth write up. Had a smoko break mid-morning than went back at er.' Had a lunch break mid afternoon and than back at er' again finishing up around 6pm. All in all, a great hard working day in the yards and a big success!! Friday same thing again however, this time we had to muster the heifers back out to the padic. We had someone in front leading the herd and than another person behind (in ute's). Rest of the day was pretty much the same. Saw a huge carpet snake! (they are not deadly or anything) but he was at least 10ft. long!!!! Pretty cool. We were pretty tired by the end of the day yesterday, and bloody hungry. It's also been pretty hot the last few days and even hotter when you are running around in it. The one downfall about the yards and having cattle in it is the dust... I literally wiped black crap out of my eyes, nose and ears!!! Hahahaha. However, there are sprinklers we just didn't use them this time. Hopefully they will be up and running the next time we are in the yard which should be not next week but the week after. Now for today, Saturday. Teagan left this morning so it was just me again off fencing. Started off my morning by getting bogged. Once I was out I fixed the fence and than as I was heading back for lunch I got the friggin' ute stuck on the gate... don't even ask how that happened... I was some pissed. So I walk 5km back to the homestead, as I didn't have the radio, with water (never go bush without water). 3pm by the time I got back, stuffed lunch into my face and than John came and got be unstuck. Spent the avro cleaning the ute out. I am some exhausted today. I love walking, but when you haven't eaten since breaky, and its 30+ degree's out, you've just spent the morning bashing in pickets it is not the most enjoyable walk!! Hahahaha. Anyway's, I was just glad John wasn't mad about be getting stuck, bent the cab a bit however, John said it was already bent... what a relief. Stupid mistakes! Always learning. I am full not, just had a huge  feed, enjoyed a cup of tea going to watch a movie and hopefully sleep in a bit tomorrow-- Day Off!!!! Whooot. 
Anyway's, keep checking out my other heading on my website here, the cattle station Australian life one as I will be writing more on a day in the yard and all the preparation etc. that goes into producing a piece of steak. I will tell you one thing, all this experience working on farms and such makes me appreciate food more than you know. Have a think about it sometime. :) Till tomorrow. -Nikki x
 
 
Just lying here in bed... I like getting up a bit before I have to so I have time to lye here and check e-mails etc. Will get up soon and get ready for work and have breakfast. We are going to be mustering today and be in the yard tomorrow!!!! Sooo pumped, I will write more about that later on!! As for the last two days, well Monday was a day filled with lots of different things, did a few things in the yard for preparation, welding on some more gates, put up panels, put out some lick... we also had to shoot a cow as she got bogged the other day, John pulled her out on Sunday but it was to much stress on her and she didn't get back up. It is always sad when that happens. Other than that, it was a good day, worked with John for most of it. Yesterday, I just had a bad day. We all have them, no particular reason. I got shocked my the fence, and grrr I hate when that happens!! I also got smacked in the face by a wire and that just pissed me off even more! I think I just felt tired of fencing yesterday, as you do. I also was missing home, and just missing being around people. A hug would be nice! Hahahahaha. Anyway's new day today, hopefully it will be better. Teagan is here today as well as lil' John so it will be good to have a few new faces around. Well best get my day started!! -Nikki 
 
 
I've been learning about politics and reading about economics... An issue in Australia at the moment is that of Carbon Tax. There is the good economist and the bad. The bad economist only looks at the advantage that the policy will have on the one group, forgetting about the others. This whole idea of Carbon Tax-- well I think its  bad economic's... the Labour Government here in Australia promised that they would not bring in Carbon Tax... well they lied. If you change one thing is the system it affects the WHOLE system. Here's the thing with this whole Carbon Tax idea here in Australia. You start taxing carbon, that's taxing the transport of food, supplies, fuel, etc. Therefore the producers, such as farmers will have to start paying more. For example, the station I am on now, if they began to tax carbon it will be $20+ (more) per head for transporting cattle that is going to put costs way up!!! Some producers have actually had to leave and sell their farms such as the Thompson's which you can read about at: (http://sppiblog.org/tag/matt-and-janet-thompson-case) Not only will the producers have to start paying more but the consumer as well. In rural area's up north such as the town of Katherine the cost of electricity is going to rise, there will be an increase in the price of food--  "if Australia stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, they would save … 15 thousandths of one degree of warming (0.0154 °C) by 2050" (sppiblog.org) Check out this Australian blog on more issues related to the whole idea of Carbon Tax. http://sppiblog.org/tag/australia-carbon-tax 
 
 
Just finishing some tea (which is dinner and when I say cuppa, I mean a cup of tea... just in case I needed to be a bit more clear, lol), and my day off is coming to an end. It was a bit of a busy day, laundry, studying, some cleaning and I ended up changing rooms. The French student that was to come broke his collar bone and isn't coming till the end of July now, so Helen said I can switch rooms... so now I have a room all to myself and a nice big bed. I am happy. I like this room. :) 
I had a good week. Friday I built a brand new fence all by myself and than spent the afternoon helping John out with welding the assembly's for gates and such. It was a bit of a break from some hard work which is always nice... and I spent the day on Saturday helping him out as well. Not sure what is going on tomorrow, I think I will be back out helping him, not 100% about Teagan coming on Tuesday to do some cattle work but I  am hoping we are going to be doing some mustering and yard work this week and we also need to get some lick out to the cattle. Lick is the nutrition we give to the cattle, it come in big blocks, we give it out to them because the soil this time of the year is very deficient in Calcium and Phosphorus. All the important things about raising cattle, always something to be done!
Anyway's, just a quick update... nothing to exciting however, I have lots to look forward too over the next few weeks. Hard to believe that I am start my 5th working week already!!! Only 10 more to go after that!!!! :) -Nikki