PETA boobs with breast milk campaign


PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – has written to ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s suggesting they replace cows milk with breast milk.

While the idea is enough to provoke shudders of revulsion from your average ice cream lover, dairy farmers reacted angrily to the stunt yesterday, claiming that the group is undermining the dairy industry.

But the animal rights group Peta claims that breast milk would be “better for both consumers and cows”, pointing out the nutritional benefits of breast milk and highlighting the animal welfare concerns over dairy farming.

Bizarre as this sounds there is a precedent:

In a letter to Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, it cites the example of chef Hans Locher, who recently announced that he will be serving soups and sauces made from 75 per cent breast milk in his Swiss restaurant. Mr Locher posted adverts in local villages appealing for donors, offering a rate of £3 per 14 ounces (398ml) for their milk.

 Even if the women had the same checks on their health as our cows do, fresh from the breast  cuisine wouldn’t tempt me.

Book launch at Fleurs Place


Take the place  which has put Moeraki on the map;

Pour in as many people as it can fit, spill extras outside.

Stir with a live musician.

Top up with fine wine including a delightful pinot gris from Ostler.

Add kai moana platters:

Add author Paul Sorrell, photogrpaher Graham Warman, the main character in the book, Fleur Sullivan and the book itself:

Oh all right then . . .


. . . I’ll admit it’s a beautiful day.

But that’s in spite of daylight saving not because of it.

We woke to a frost this morning and that white stuff on the Kakanuis is fresh snow which fell yesterday.

Yawn, mutter grumble


If you didn’t face the morning with your normal enthusiasm you’re not alone.

My eyes register what the numbers on the clock face say but the rest of me is firmly convinced it’s a whole hour earlier.

I understand the theory behind daylight saving and accept it in mid-summer but I have difficulty appreciating it in practice on a decidedly cool spring morning when I need every one of those lost 60 minutes to engender enough enthusiasm to get out of bed.

The cause of this inconvenience can be laid at the door of North Islanders.

If they had the sense to move south where we already enjoy long summer twilights they could have what they want without stealing an hour from our mornings.

Since they selfishly decide to stay put, we’ll have to endure these cold, dark dawns until our bodies catch up with the clocks.

It was bad enough when it happened at Labour weekend when we had the Monday off to help us adjust to rude awakenings, but those who think they know best have dragged the start forward to the last weekend in September.

It’s a little too early to enjoy the long evenings and a lot too soon to feel enthusiastic about losing an hour in the morning.

The only fool-proof way to take the sting out of the spring leap forward is to take a break where time isn’t important. Preferably somewhere warm like Fiji where you could lounge around in the sun then come home so refreshed that getting out of bed an hour earlier wouldn’t really hurt.

Unfortunately few of us have the time or money to make such an annual pilgrimage. We just have to stay home and put up with a week or two of discomfort until the confusion between body time and the actual time is sorted out.

If you have young children the mornings won’t be the only problem. It can take a lot of convincing little people it’s bedtime when their body clocks know perfectly well there are another 3600 seconds of play and story telling left in the day.

I always mean to prepare for the time change by going to bed 10 minutes earlier each week for the six weeks before it happens. That would mean by the time daylight savings was introduced my body would be in tune with the clock/

Unfortunately it’s a good intention which I’ve never got round to putting into practice. So every year I have the same struggle to adjust my inner clock to the outer reality. It’s like suffering from jet lag without having had the fun of a holiday.

As one who values sleep as only those who’ve had young children can, this isn’t something I find easy, and knowing that I’m going through it a good three weeks earlier than it ought to be isn’t helping.

They didn’t ask me


A Department of Internal Affairs survey shows 82% of the general public support the extension to daylight saving but only 54% of dairy farmers do.

It would be interesting to know if the approval was stronger in the north than the south.

Leaked memo suggests Sanlu paid hush money


A leaked memo, supposedly from Sanlu, suggests the company was paying to keep the story about poisoned milk quiet.

Fonterra says no-one on the board of the company, in which it has a 43% stake,  knew of this.

Radio NZ  has more on the story including a denial from Fonterra it will be forced to give up its share in Sanlu.

There were warnings in China


The New York Times gives a background to the melamine milk poisoning in China which confirms it shouldn’t have been unexpected.

The three page article which is worth reading in full lays the blame on the Communist administraion, the desire to look good for the Olympics and constraints on media which thwarted attemtps to publicise concerns.

It also says contamination wasn’t unusual:

Some dairy farmers interviewed this week in Hebei Province said it was an open secret that milk was adulterated, although many claimed they did not know that melamine was being used. Some dairies routinely watered down milk to increase profits, then added other cheap ingredients so the milk could pass a protein test.

“Before melamine, the dealers added rice porridge or starch into the milk to artificially boost the protein count, but that method was easily tested as fake, so they switched to melamine,” said Zhao Huibin, a dairy farmer near Shijiazhuang.

Mr. Zhao said quality testers at Sanlu took bribes from farmers and milk dealers in exchange for looking the other way on milk adulterated with melamine. “In this business, bribery keeps everyone silent,” he said.

This is why strict quality controls all along the production chain which we have in New Zealand are so important.

But quality controls can’t be trusted if there isn’t openness and a lack of corruption.

Hat Tip: The Hive

Offal is awful


We haven’t had a cattle beast butchered for years because when there’s normally only two of us in the house it takes too long to eat the meat.

When we used to get it done the best cuts that could be grilled or roast  were always used first and we were left with the mince and cheaper cuts languishing in the freezer which meant weeks of meat balls, bolognaise, stews and casseroles. All of these can be very tasty but it takes more time and effort to cook them.

Then there was the offal which I won’t touch which I always gave away to people who had a taste for it.

I realise not everyone can choose to be so picky and butchers report  that rising prices are forcing people back to the cheaper cuts of meat. 

Taranaki Master Butchers Association president and owner of New Plymouth’s Kiwi Butcher, Peter Morrison, said more people were seeking cheaper cuts and specialist advice unavailable at supermarkets.

. . . He said: “A lot of the young ladies don’t know what skirt is – aside from the one worn around the waist – even though there are four varieties when it comes to beef, and it’s the best meat you can buy for stews.”

When you’ve been brought up with a microwave and convenience food it’s quite possible that the old fashioned staples are foreign food.

This is one of the factors which prompted the formation of Super Grans in Oamaru. It matches older people who can pass on their domestic skills with with younger ones whose knowledge of such things as cooking cheap, nutritional meals are lacking and it’s working well.

But not even a Super Gran could convince me that offal is anything but awful.

Wet nurses wanted in China


The Australian reports that wet nurses are cashing in  on the poisoned milk scandal in China.

MANY middle-class Chinese families already have a maid, or aiyi. Now they are rushing to hire a wet nurse, or nai ma, too, as anxiety surges about milk-powder poisoning.

Agencies throughout the country that routinely hire out domestic servants for house-cleaning, cooking and child minding, are now adding wet nurses as a new category.

In the wealthy southern city of Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong, the Daily Sunshine newspaper said that rich families seeking wet nurses were prepared to pay $3150 a month – more than three times the average income.

One domestic services agency in Shenzhen has been receiving 50 calls a day from parents wanting wet nurses.

Manager Ai Xiaoxiong said: “We only had one or two such inquiries a year in the past.”

Most Chinese parents have in recent years been feeding their babies bottled milk, promoted as more nutritious and better for the mothers’ figures. But the panic over the safety of China’s dairy products, after four babies died and 53,000 were taken to hospital as a result of consuming milk contaminated by melamine, has changed attitudes overnight.

Yanhong Wheeler, a best-selling Chinese author on raising children, under the name Xiao Wu, said: “There are more than 400 nutrients in breast milk that no milk powder can imitate. But no melamine.”

Paying a wet nurse enables well-paid mothers to continue working more easily, as well as meeting the need for reliable milk for their children.

Mr Ai said that wet nurses’ pay had more than tripled following the milk disaster.

The rewards are attracting young women to become career wet nurses. The Shenzhen Daily spoke with a woman who was a department store sales person in Sichuan province, before she quit in order to give birth last month. Now she is already planning a new job as a wet nurse: “I have plenty of breast milk. Why not? It’s a very good offer, as I only made 2000 yuan before” – about $350 per month, a typical wage. Now she can afford to buy expensive imported milk powder for her own baby.

Zhongjia Housework Agency manager Zhang Guixui said that parents were focused on the wet nurse’s health, so her agency insisted on “a strict physical check on everything from HIV to skin diseases”. She knew a case where a wet nurse was required by the parents to drink only fresh chicken soup, made from birds air-freighted from overseas.

The World Health Organisation is opposed to any advertsing of breast-milk substitutes and this is adhered to in western countries. That baby formula has been promoted in China, and no doubt other countries, as better than breast milk is another scandal.

And what does is say about the desperate circumstances of a woman that she will breast feed someone else’s child yet put her own on forumula?

Paul Newman has died


I thought Paul Newman was still the 40-something I remember as Butch Cassidy, but off-screen he’d aged – he was 83.

Update: Barnsley Bill  and The Dim Post  remember their favourite Newman movies.

41 more sleeps . . .


. . . until election day and I’m grumpy because the clock is an hour ahead of my body, I woke in the dark and it’s cold.

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