April 10, 2012

We are not encouraged, on a daily basis, to pay careful attention to the animals we eat. On the contrary, the meat, dairy, and egg industries all actively encourage us to give thought to our own immediate interest (taste, for example, or cheap food) but not to the real suffering involved. They do so by deliberately withholding information and by cynically presenting us with idealized images of happy animals in beautiful landscapes, scenes of bucolic happiness that do not correspond to anything in the real world. The animals involved suffer agony because of our ignorance. The least we owe them is to lessen that ignorance. ~ Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Source: CCTV for all Slaughterhouses


Yes. It is no accident we hear exceptionally little about the natural behaviour of farm animals. We know about wild animals and companion animals. Yet I can’t think of a single time I’ve come across a mainstream article or program about the natural behaviour of farm animals. That would not be conducive to sales. Too many people would have start to have a hard time eating them if they could se…e them as interesting creatures with individual personalities rather than neatly packaged products in the supermarket. Instead we see widespread advertising, Master Chef and all the other cooking shows incouraging us to ignore any niggling conscience and concentrate on our tastebuds. It’s not all happy animals in fields and humane slaughter. The reality is brutal. At least do them the favour of educating yourself.

The FAST technology is designed to detect anything from changes in body movement, body heat, eye movements, breathing patterns, voice pitch, and your prosody (the tone and rhythm in which you speak).

God help you if you suffer from anxiety, are running late, have a flying phobia, or happen to belong to the Smyth family with our history of airport dramatics. The irony of course is psychopaths …do not have the same physiological reaction as normal people under generally perceived stressful situations. They can pass lie detector tests. They’ll pass this too. So the bomber will be waved on through while granny having an asthma attack will be manhandled off for interrogation.

Yet another of the War on Terror’s jokes.



Oh Wow. Oh Wow. Oh Wow!

November 1, 2011

In the eulogy Steve Jobs’s sister describes how on his death bed he looked at his family for a long time, and then over their shoulders past them.

His final words were, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow!”

It reminds me of the incredible privilege it is to share those moments with someone who is dying, as they begin to slip in and out of consciousness and catch a glimpse the journey that lies ahead.

“Oh wow, Oh wow, Oh wow.” So full of incredulity, wonder and promise…


Home births under threat

October 28, 2011

While other countries expand access to homebirth we shut it down. It really leaves me concerned about my daughter’s future options: a medicalised birth or a secret homebirth with no midwife in attendance. Neither is attractive, nor optimal.

Activists have fought so hard to retain access to homebirth, while the AMA pushes harder to have access limited. Unfortunately the medical lobby’s voice is the more powerful of the two and they have swayed our health minister in their favour. I find it quite ironic that it was a female Health minister who finally conceded and gave them what they’d lobbied for decades. Well done Nicola Roxon. Sadly I don’t get any sense that she even begins to understand how she has betrayed women.

Once again we find ourselves free to choose what has been chosen for us. Ah democracy in action. Don’t you just love it? At this stage I’m ready to go live in some fascist state somewhere. At least they are overt about the control of the population and don’t pretty it up with pat phrases about “improved access” and “increase in options” while they are systemically removing them.

Home births under threat

The Maitland Mercury
28 Oct, 2011 04:00 AM

Maitland women choosing to give birth at home will be forced to deliver their babies under a cloud of secrecy if government legislation is not changed.

It became illegal in July 2010 for a registered midwife to attend a home birth after a Senate committee recommended that all home birth midwives be insured.

Since then the number of private midwives attending births has dwindled from 200 in 2009 to just 90 in 2011.

Homebirth Australia is now calling on the federal government to ensure Australian women can continue to access the care of a registered midwife at home and not be abandoned by the government for their choice of maternity care.

Ashtonfield woman Lucy Smith, 27, gave birth to son Xavier at home in February 2010 under the care of the Belmont Birthing Centre.

She was adamant she did not want to give birth in hospital.

“I always knew I wanted to have a home birth and I really didn’t want to do it any other way,” Ms Smith said.

“The government really has no right in taking this choice away from women because this is our decision to make.

“If I had to choose between giving birth in hospital and delivering at home without a midwife then I would do it alone.”

Homebirth Australia spokesperson Michelle Meares said reforms to the maternity care system have meant many women will no longer have access to midwives.

“But many will still choose to birth at home,” Ms Meares said.“In the last two years, the impact of the maternity reforms has lead to a deterioration in options for women, greater risk for women and babies and a move from quality primary care to expensive secondary care.

“Australian women who make the safe legitimate choice to birth at home are asking – will I have to hide to give birth.”

This latest campaign coincides with Homebirth Awareness Week. Figures show home birth has increased by 14.9 per cent in Australia.


October 26, 2011

An upcoming film about men and childbirth. Fathers have a natural instinct to protect their young. This film explores how that protective instinct is being suppressed to allow culturally acceptable abuse of their newborn babies during standard medical procedures. In the process it exposes the personal and societal cost of our blind deference to medicine.

Last Train Home

October 23, 2011

A film by Lixin Fan

A concerned Australian journalist
December 4, 2009

South Australia has proposed controversial new legislation, in an unprecedented move to legalize forced medicine, civil libertarians say. Under the guise of public health, the South Australian Health Minister John Hill has introduced the South Australian Public Health Bill 2009 into state Parliament. It is feared the Bill will authorize a massively expanded new public health department — in addition to the already existing one — which will wield authoritarian powers that threaten to radically change current medical practice and leave wide spread human and civil rights violations in its wake.

The state has extensive public health statutes already in place allowing the health department wide powers in case of public health risks such as epidemics, but the new Bill harmonizes with the World Health Organizations’ International Health Regulations to which Australia is a signatory. The Bill introduces the new disease category of ‘controlled infectious diseases’, which allows authorities unprecedented powers over persons even suspected of having an infectious disease. The Bill’s explanatory paper states; [The Bill] Provides for a clear scheme for the management and control of persons with controlled infectious disease … [it] provides for a compulsory scheme of clinical examination, counseling, direction, treatment orders and detention or isolation orders.

This means health department authorities can forcibly test, examine, counsel, treat, detain, or isolate anyone suffering of any disease or anyone suspected of having a disease.

Incredibly, the Bill also claims powers over those with chronic non-infectious diseases. Clause 57 allows the health minister to declare non-infectious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and vascular problems — a public health risk. Clause 58 allows the health department to set down a ‘code of practice’ which impose standardized medical treatment protocols for each condition, requiring doctors to prescribe only the official drugs and treatments approved by the government. The code of practice includes government control of health information given to the public. Those in the allied health industry fear the law could restrict or end independent sources of health information, complementary medicines, health product network marketing and a choice in doctors. Consumer groups fear the Bill has the power to end health choices while reducing doctors to prescribing standardized treatments. One watchdog group spokesman said he believed the Bill gave drug companies an open door to persuade health departments to mandate their products while stifling independent information.

Libertarian groups have expressed concern about the coercive nature of the Bill. Clause 59 deals with notifiable conditions. Currently, any person seeking treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, or a childhood disease such as measles or mumps, or a simple case of the flu must be reported to the health department. Clause 60 of the Public Health Bill, imposes $10,000 fines on doctors, pathologists and labs for failing to report a case of flu or any other notifiable disease within 3 days of even ‘forming a suspicion’ that a person has the disease. Under the new law, the health department has the power to request any confidential information about patients, which doctors must supply on threat of a hefty fine. A special clause protects doctors from any breach of patient confidentiality or ethical breaches in case patients complain about their medical information being passed on to various government departments. The new Bill ensures the public will not be able to access public health department information through the Freedom of Information Act 1991. Critics say this makes the health department entirely non-transparent and non-accountable to the public. The clause also expands the list of notifiable diseases to ‘notifiable micro-organisms’, meaning the minister can declare any disease-causing micro-organism a notifiable disease, including future, as yet unidentified new germs. Once the minister declares a micro-organism to be notifiable, Clause 64 allows the health department to seize vehicles or other belongings and impose quarantine on persons or entire regions.

 While many would regard these powers reasonable and necessary to contain serious plagues, critics claim that Clause 65 widens these powers into all other non-infectious conditions. The Bill’s explanatory paper states that under Clause 65: A disease or medical condition can be declared to be a controlled notifiable disease or medical condition by regulation. In the interests of public health in urgent circumstances, the Minister can declare a disease or medical condition a controlled notifiable disease…

 This means health department officials can force persons with conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, or cancer to undergo a medical examination and testing followed by forced treatments, and detention. Clause 70 gives the government power to force ‘counseling’ and ‘education’ or; other activities that help a person understand the implications of a controlled notifiable disease if a person has failed to participate in a relevant counseling activity despite being given a reasonable opportunity to do so’. Clause 71 gives the health department power to force persons, among other things to; reside at a certain place, to not visit specified places, to not associate with specified persons or classes of persons, to attend specified meetings and provide reasonably required information, to be under the supervision of a person nominated by the Chief Public Health Officer.

With already wide ranging control over all diseases and conditions, the Bill gives the health department additional power to automatically override all parental consent. At the same time, large populations can be controlled through Clauses 4-6 setting out requirements for ‘population monitoring’ and other ‘systemic measures’ requiring local councils to regularly report to the health department about persons alleged or even suspected of causing health risks. Once enacted, no one will be able to avoid the legislation – even when dead. Clause 78 permits the government to carry out any procedure or tests on dead people, despite any objections from the relatives.

The Bill has extra clout with its substantial fines ranging from $60,000 to $1 million and 10 years’ jail for those who do not comply with the tough new health measures.

Some have hailed the Bill as a welcome reform to public health. The South Australian health minister, John Hill writes in the Bill’s explanatory paper, ‘This Bill, if passed, will provide South Australia with forward looking legislation for public health that meets international standards. It will provide for systematic approaches to prevention and health promotion and stronger, more robust powers for protecting public health and for dealing with public health emergencies. It also enables South Australia to meet and respond to the public health challenges that will confront us in the 21st Century.’ Meanwhile, Australian Medical Association State President, Dr Andrew Lavender said he approved of the changes, claiming they were important to protect the public.

The only politician opposing the Bill so far has been opposition health spokesman Duncan McFetridge. ‘It’s bordering on nanny-state legislation,’ he said. ‘It’s understandable, but how far do we go?’

Since the Bill was introduced into the SA state Parliament, it has caused a furor among health care advocates who fear it could spell the end of health choices, undermine the public’s trust in doctors, and usher in the end of democracy in the State of South Australia.