An open letter to Michelle Bridges

27 May, 2014 10:00 AM
Comments
46
 
You seem to think it’s OK to break into a farm and secretly film what is happening

AN open letter to Michelle Bridges about so-called 'ag-gag' laws from Bill the farmer*.


DEAR Michelle,

My apologies for writing to you out of the blue and unannounced, but I hadn’t heard of you until today when I drove into town to pay some bills online at the school library. We don’t have Internet at the farm and we don’t get newspapers delivered very often, so I was reading the Sydney Morning Herald online while I was there and noticed an article you wrote.

It was about a law the government is talking about introducing to stop people from illegally trespassing on farms and planting video cameras in pig and chook sheds to try and catch farmers mistreating their animals.

Apparently you don’t like the law, because you think people should be able to illegally enter farms and livestock facilities and plant secret cameras around the place, and then come back later and break in again and retrieve the cameras and the video footage.

I was pretty cranky about what you wrote because the people breaking into farms in the middle of the night have been terrifying farm families (farms are also where farm families live) and also breaking biosecurity rules that prevent the animals getting diseases.

“Most farmers I know are more than happy to have visitors call in ...”

Why they are bothering to break into these farms is a bit of a mystery – most of the local farmers I know are more than happy to have visitors call in, and so much the better if they want to stay a few days and help out.

You seem to think it’s OK to break into a farm and secretly film what is happening on account of the fact that you and your mates in the city want to be sure the food you are eating has come from farms that don’t treat their animals badly or break any laws.

This is a bit surprising to me, as last time I was in the city and went to a supermarket I noticed that most of the pigmeat and nearly all the canned fruit and vegetables in the supermarket was imported from overseas countries that don’t have any of the rules we operate under here, so that left me wondering just how fussy you and your mates really are about where your food comes from.

I was so upset about what you had written, I had to go to the pub and have a beer to calm down. While I was there I asked Snowy, our local publican, who Michelle Bridges was.

Turns out you are something called a personal trainer and lifestyle coach, and you spend a lot of time on TV telling people how they can get fit and lose weight. I had never heard of a lifestyle coach, but I could certainly do with a bit of fitness, so I thought it might be interesting to find out a bit more about what you do. I went back to the library and found your website online. It certainly looks impressive, but I still couldn’t work out how you could make money from your job.

Then I discovered your “12 week body transformation” which I can apparently sign up to for $200 and you will send me all sorts of advice about how I can get fitter and feel healthier. I tried to find out a bit more about what I would get for my $200, but there wasn’t much information available unless I joined up. It also looked to me like most of the information you would send me was delivered by the Internet – which isn’t much use to me.

But then I got to thinking about how you think farmers should be under constant video surveillance so their customers can be sure about what they are getting. It struck me that perhaps this isn’t such a bad idea, especially for customers of personal trainers and lifestyle coaches.

“You will need to arrange video surveillance of yourself around the clock ... that way customers could be sure that you really do all the exercise you recommend”

The way I see it, if I was going to send you $200 for fitness and lifestyle advice, I would want to be sure that the advice was coming from someone who actually takes their own advice.

And the only way I can see to make sure you always follow your own advice would be for surveillance cameras to be put in your home, and for other cameras to follow you around and keep track of what you eat and drink and how much exercise you do, and for that video footage to be made available to all your customers.

That way they could be sure that you really do all the exercise you recommend and only consume the right food and drink, and that you don’t cheat by taking a few weight loss pills or having a bit of cosmetic surgery done to keep you looking good.

So, what about it Michelle? I’m happy to become your customer and take on your “12 week body transformation” course, but only if I can be absolutely sure you take your own advice, which means you will need to arrange video surveillance of yourself around the clock that your customers can check to make sure you’re not cheating.

Of course it will be a bit hard for me to see the video or take you advice if you post it online, but I’m sure you could send it out on a DVD every week or so.

Looking forward to being your customer,

Bill


* Bill the farmer is a pseudonym.


A Facebook post from Michelle Bridges posted on Wednesday night in response to the backlash:

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Australian Farm InstituteSource: http://www.farminstitute.org.au/
Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

wtf
27/05/2014 12:13:32 PM

she won't have a job if there is no food and obesity as a result, talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
EnviroFarmer
27/05/2014 12:32:35 PM

I love this article - the same transparency should be applied to every industry if agriculture and food production is going to be targeted. Spot on "Bill"!
Percy
27/05/2014 1:09:11 PM

The actions of animal libbers have hardened the attitudes of farmers and processors so much that anyone is now viewed as a threat to their existence and gates are closed to virtually all visitors. Bleeding heart journalists who help promote the myths, easily swallowed by ignorant consumers, certainly do not help the cause of those who are trying to feed the world. Not only should invasion of privacy and trespass laws be tightened but also redress laws introduced whereby false actuations can be pursued as defamation.
Sally
27/05/2014 1:24:28 PM

Love it! She has a facebook page 'Michelle Bridges 12 week body transformation' I'd encourage anyone to share this link to her page and let her know trespass, bio security risks and putting animal welfare at risk is just not on!
THE FARMER
27/05/2014 2:38:22 PM

I am sure the marron poachers were only checking on the welfare of my marron & would humanely euthanasias them in the cooking pot .Not sure on what damage my fuel bowser was doing to any one but some people can rationalise anything . Trespass is trespass .Keep out means every one not everyone except people on a mission from god .
Swaggy
27/05/2014 3:16:34 PM

What a wonderful country we live in. Australia has the climate and ability to grow every major food commodity in the global market, yet we don't, we are moving towards bulk commodity items as our consumers blindly infringe conditions that make us un-competitive in the domestic market and results in imports of these products with no guarantee of quality or production procedures. We have/had a fruit industry that suffered this fact, we should have been exporting the premium fruit produce that we had and feeding our domestic population also. Well done Bill, hopefully your letter opens eyes!
L
27/05/2014 3:43:54 PM

She should stick to what she does best and leave farming alone. Don't bite the hand that fees you Michelle! Go Farmer Bill.
Heidi
27/05/2014 4:36:03 PM

Or even better than the "12 week transformation" Come work on a farm for 12 weeks. I can assure you after hanging around here for 3 months you'll be fitter and more toned than your city friends, Michelle.
mike hayes
27/05/2014 5:53:10 PM

Ms. Bridges, what about we farmers start visiting your home and the homes of your supporters in the middle of the night. We could set up cameras and see what you get up to. See how you treat your spouses, your kids, your visitors, your gardens, your pets, and your environment generally. We could study your personal hygiene standards and so on and let the world know how you behave. Surely this would be no different to the trespass that you support?
uncle Bill
27/05/2014 6:19:03 PM

I want to meet this man he is a champion
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COMMENTS

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The APVMA is actually subject to legislation and operates under that rather than particular
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WTF, refer u to Sheata et al (2013) "The effect of glyphosate on potential pathogens and
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Expanding plant-based agriculture does not equal ending animal-based. To claim it is so is