Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jessica Gives her perspective on the Live Export Ban

Jessica Groves wrote the following letter from the heart about how the live export ban will affect the people and the land they live.I am publishing it without editing.

Jessica was born in Katherine, NT. Her Dad was and is a cattleman and from line out great stockmen. My mum is also off the land. She was educated in Katherine at the public High School. Jessica has two brothers both put through boarding school thanks the beef cattle industry.

Jessica's open letter :

To whom it may concern – everyone who calls themselves Australian,
I have had enough. For the past week I have sat and watched this torrent of rage flow through the media, Ban Live Export. I now get an email from a lady I met last week through a group on Facebook “Save Live Export”, that because of this stand for ‘animal welfare’ (so they say) her family now looks to lose a month’s worth of income, at least.
If this was a stand for animal welfare, they would look at the bigger picture and see that Banning Live export is going to do diddle squat for “Animal Welfare”, if anything it’s going to worsen the situation. If Animals Australia and RSPCA really cared about the welfare of animals they would have taken the footage to the authorities straight away so instant action could have been taking. Instead they sit on it for nearly four months, now as the industry starts to crank for the beginning of the season, they ask why this should go on for one more night! Please, this wasn’t a stand for animal welfare this was a stand to stop live export.
I could go on about the facts and figures but the hard truth at the end of the day is this is Australian families’ lives you are toying with. Rural Aussies sit in their homes scared and worried about their lively hoods because of something most of the industry didn’t know a thing about.
You want a story? Tell our bloody story, how we work form daylight to dusk, living and breathing our jobs. Our animals are our lives! Okay it probably won’t get the ratings you want but at least it’s the truth. Tell the story of what is going to happen to these families if god forsaken they get their bloody ban!
Tell how banks will foreclose on places over night, families will be left with nothing and nowhere to go, tell that bloody story. And don’t be fooled and think it’s only going to affect the beef industry, it’ll effect you guys soon enough
. We do not condone or support animal cruelty! Go to our homes you will see how much we really do care for these animals. All I ask is that you give us a fair go. This is my story.
My name is Jessica Groves, I am 28 and from the Northern Territory. After finishing year 12 in 2000, I had no idea of what I wanted to do or who I wanted to become so my dad, a seasoned stockmen, sent me to Camfield Station, where I became a part of a lifestyle I would never ever want to leave.
I was a teenage girl in a camp full of aboriginals, we were the weaner camp. Our job was to educate the weaners, but they taught me so much more. There wasn’t a day I didn’t enjoy my work (that’s a lie after the floods I detested fencing), it was 6 months before I went back into town but it was too late I was hooked. I worked long and hard, I wanted to become the best that I could, I wanted to know everything there was to being a great stockmen.

I remember going down of an evening to take the nose bags off the horses and turn them out, I would sit gazing at the stars while listening to the weaners. I remember thinking there is nowhere in the world I would rather be.
I worked throughout Australia gaining as much experience as I could but every year I would return to the Northern Territory, where the Brahmans graze. I have had a go at just about everything, cook, governess, bar maid, truck driver, sales clerk, waitress, equine nurse, administration officer/manager, the list goes on, but there is nothing in this world that gives me more satisfaction then letting a mob of Brahmans out of the yard at the end of the day. There honestly isn’t anything more rewarding then watching them walking out, that’s poetry right there…….
With my age and gender, I decided it was time for me to turn my hand at something new. I now work in an office in Brisbane CBD, my desk is full of photos of my days up north, the beautiful Brahmans in the yards or mustering up. It tells a story of a life I once lived, the life that many Aussie families still live today.
You could not imagine my reaction to the footage aired on 4 Corners, Bloody Business. I can’t even begin to describe what I felt. The images were sickening and I could not grasp what I was watching. When it was all over I phoned my mum to express my feelings but the words would not come out. I lay in bed that night with my head empty and my heart aching, I didn’t know what to think.

Who was I?

That footage very nearly made me turn my back on the one thing that I had strived so hard to be a part of. I went to work the next day not knowing what the future held for the industry that was still as much a part of my life as it ever was. What was to happen to my family and friends who still lived this life? Had I sent these cattle to their shocking death??
I could not accept what the media had told me it went against everything I had learnt and supported. I contacted friends, friends of friends, family and professionals in the industry, I needed answers. I did my research! The truth is out there if you care to look. Banning live export will not stop animal cruelty it will only save a few Aussie animals.

They will and can source their cattle from another country, the cruelty will continue without education and infrastructure. I’ll tell you what it will do, it will ruin Aussie lives. Please give us, the majority of the industry, who didn’t know about this horrific torture being dealt to our animals a chance to make it right. And if then and only then you are still not happy, Ban Live Export. Please take a moment and think, fair go. Do you call yourself an Australian?

You can follow Jessica Groves on Facebook

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