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Is my Nomophobia showing?

Don't worry only one of them works at any one time.

Nomophobia according to an article by Deborah Netburn in the Sydney Morning Herald, is that profound anxiety you feel when you are without your mobile phone. It seems that polls in the UK show that it is rising, particularly among the young, but surprise, surprise, seniors are the next group affected. I suppose it could work as an excuse for a 'sickie' so long as your boss hasn' t read the article as well. Treatment is available.

If I had nomophobia last week, I certainly don't have it now. Since I posted that very graphic picture of a dog in Spain, the trickle of news about animals has turned into a torrent. There are also many dedicated people and organisations taking action, mostly far more qualified to respond than I am, so that my main job now seems to be directing the traffic - local issues here, national issues there, international ones elsewhere. That's excellent, so long it gets the word out and helps to bring change, because there are certainly a lot of other issues which need attention.
This being The Year of the Farmer, it is a good time to highlight what happens to our farm animals - the bobby calves, the pigs, the chickens and  even the sheep  especially given the fact that Australia now lags behind other developed nations in many of these matters. Don't forget to let the big supermarkets, politicians and our own big takeaway outlets know about the example of Subway, Burger King and McDonald's in the US,  and tell them that we too want cruelty free food.  The issue of the cruel treatment of Australian greyhounds exported to Macau has now also been taken up by Animals Australia.

However two other worrying trends also need to be addressed. One is the growing concentration and increasing use of contract labour in farming where neither the owner nor the labour hire firms accept any responsibility either for the animals or the workers. This is particularly apparent in the almost closed shop of the Australian chicken industry, where two big private companies have bought out all the other firms, but it also happens in the USA.
Growing free range meat is more expensive, but I get around that by buying cheaper cuts. I hope it also allows more small operators to flourish. Better still if you can buy less meat altogether, or go vegetarian. This would not only be much better for millions of animals, but  also for the planet, not to mention your health.  Read more...

The other is a trend in the USA where farmers in Florida are trying to make it illegal to videotape or photograph what is going on in factory farms [If you live in the USA sign the petition on that site now before it closes] and the collusion by big business generally  as seen in the recent exposure of the Heartland Institute. If we cannot know and/ or our governments are being influenced by big business lobbying or electoral donations, we cannot help or change things.[NB The last article is by the brilliant George Monbiot who writes for The Guardian].

On the other hand, look how far we have come. On the 26th of February, it will be exactly ten years since Tasmania's very own home- grown chicken campaigner, Pamela Clarke was arrested for breaking into a battery hen farm and rescuing four sick hens. Back then, no one could have imagined the enormous policy changes which have since occurred around the world. Ms. Clarke was a most unlikely heroine. White haired, unassuming, well -spoken but surprisingly strong. It just shows what one determined person can do. She must now be in her seventies, but  was last seen a couple of years ago, trying to stop council workers in Kingston from chopping down old and venerable foreshore trees.

Please note that is is not about pots calling kettles black. While there are abuses in every country, there are also thinking,feeling people who want more humane treatment of animals. This is very difficult to do in isolation, especially in smaller countries, poor countries and where there are repressive regimes. One of the few ways in which change can be brought about there is with the support of the international community or by bringing pressure to bear on big retailers such as Walmart who deal with them, or even better - as the Humane Society of USA did with Krispy Kreme, by buying shares in them and demanding change from within. For those who see the problem but feel helpless to help, the sites and organisations which have been listed over the last couple of days should provide much inspiration, so I will add a couple more:

Although I have focussed mainly on farm animals today, and need to move on to other issues such as GMOs, honest food labelling, privacy, democracy etc. don't forget either, those animals used in cosmetics and scientific experiments or the loss of animals in the wild.

By the way, feel free to comment on any of these pages

Cheers all!