MP: Tractor protest well worth it – Sue O’Dowd:
The retiring politician who once drove a tractor up the steps of Parliament would do it all again.
Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern famously gunned the tractor called Myrtle up Parliament’s steps in a 2003 protest against the Labour Government’s proposed flatulence tax on ruminants. It was later described as the single most effective protest in scuttling what was deemed an idiotic proposal.
Today Ardern is still incensed the Government sacked eminent ruminant scientists conducting research into harnessing methane emission to improve production, even as it was proposing to tax those emissions.
“The scientists were working on something that would potentially overcome the problem, but the Labour Government sacked them because it wanted to introduce a tax on the productive sector that drives the economy of New Zealand.
“It was a lie and it still is a lie. [The proposed tax] was nothing to do with environmental problems. It was about getting extra revenue from the productive sector and it was about wealth redistribution. . .
Fonterra scare could have been prevented– Catherine Harris:
The botched Fonterra botulism scare in August last year might have been prevented if an independent food safety centre had existed, a top toxicologist says.
Professor Ian Shaw, of the University of Canterbury, is among those to welcome the idea of a $5 million food safety centre, which was recommended last month by a government inquiry into New Zealand’s food safety systems.
Shaw, who has chaired a food safety body in the UK, said the Government’s proposal was “a bloody good idea”.
If there had been a food safety centre in place when the Fonterra scare occurred, the test results might have been known more quickly and the false alarm possibly avoided, he said. . .
A man has been airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital with serious chest injuries after being ‘‘rammed’’ by a sheep on a farm north of Hunterville.
Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter pilot Lance Burns said the man did not appear to have been trampled but had obviously been headbutted relatively hard by the sheep.
It was thought he was in a pen with the sheep at the time of the incident.
He stabilised by St John paramedics on board the rescue helicopter and arrived at Palmerston North Hospital in a serious condition. . .
DOC targets rats to help save struggling bats – Neil Ratley:
The Department of Conservation is going in to bat for a critically endangered mammal species in Fiordland.
A low count of long-tailed bats in the Kepler Mountains is prompting DOC to design and undertake rat control to protect the rare species.
The rat control will emulate that undertaken by DOC in the Eglington Valley, the only other known long-tailed bat habitat in Fiordland.
There was excitement surrounding the discovery of the long-tailed bat colony near the Kepler track in December 2011, with DOC staff estimating the population was close to 70. . .
The Myth About Seed Choice – Foodie Farmer:
I recently had a twitter conversation on a topic that seemed to perpetuate an urban myth – that farmers do not have a choice when it comes to planting seed or that seed companies “impose” their seeds on farmers, as if it is a dictatorship… Last time I checked, America was a pretty free country. Most people are able to make choices on what they buy at the store… So why would that be different for farmers?
As a family farm, we grow both GMO (we don’t actually use this term but for the sake of this blog, am using it for the reader for whom it may be a descriptor) and non-GMO crops and choose our seed produced from a variety of different seed companies, buying directly from our neighbors, which frankly, is the whole point of the fabric of rural America. We support one another. . .
Donkey meat contamination scare in China’s Walmart – Horsetalk:
Several Walmart outlets in China have withdrawn “five-spice donkey meat” after tests revealed the presence of fox meat.
The company is helping authorities in eastern Shandong province investigate the Chinese supplier.
Walmart confirmed it found traces of DNA from animals other than donkey after testing the product. The Shandong Food and Drug Administration had been reported as saying the product contained fox meat. . .