Spin and Counter Offensive, How NZ Deals with Bad News. Contaminated with Cruelty

If you want examples of how spin and counter offensive are used to cover-up bad news in New Zealand you don’t have to look far.

You could choose to examine the way the report into poor quality early years child care was handled, or you could turn your attention to the way investigative journalists have their homes searched. You could ponder on why academics have their research censored and told they should be locked up for blowing the whistle about pollution. You could think about the way publicity about possible 1080 contamination of milk was timed to deflect attention away from a prominent MP appearing in court. You could even muse over how the 100% Pure brand image is used to mis-sell the country.

But perhaps the most obvious example is the current war waged against the people who exposed extreme cruelty in the New Zealand dairy industry. This is a country where 2 million new born calves a year are treated like waste products, left in tiny cages at the farm gate hours after they’re born to be collected by men who throw them like sacks into a truck.

What happens Nz’s dairy calves when they get to the pet food abattoir is deeply disturbing. It was exposed in a secret video filmed by SAFE and Farmwatch NZ and shown to the world. Every glass of milk from New Zealand is stained by animal cruelty and, to put it simply, this has got to stop…

The people who made the secret video have made good on their promise to take their campaign global and have placed adverts in British newspapers – gateway to the lucrative European Community’s economic market. They know from experience that the way to change things in New Zealand isn’t to just complain to the regulators, or the police, or the government.

Real change in New Zealand is brought about by shinning the light of international attention on a problem until the embarrassment is causes makes a difference – much as the overseas campaign by the families of bereaved tourists brought about safety controls in the NZ adventure tourism industry.

Read any current NZ media report about the Contaminated with Cruelty campaign and you’ll see statements like “the dairy industry is worth $9 billion to the NZ economy” disappointment that the “whole industry has been tarred with the same brush” that it is the behaviour of a “very small minority“, talk of the campaign being “un-patriotic” or trying to “harm the industry” – all spin and deflection from the real issue at hand and easier than sorting out the problem: the mis- treatment of calves within the NZ dairy industry is barbaric, ‘third world’ even. To change it means accepting a loss in profitability and changing a practice that has been going on since the days when NZ was first colonised by European farmers.

What has come through loud and clear this week is that most people understand that this is a very small minority and that bobby calves are a reality of dairy farming

The industry is running scared because it knows poor treatment of calves is endemic all over New Zealand, and doesn’t see a way to stop it. People don’t know any different.

To euthanise calves humanely on the farm (as they do in Europe) requires the use of a gun. Bullets cost money. Raising a male calf to produce beef is an investment that literally eats into the profits of an industry that’s worth $9 billion to the NZ economy. The same industry already uses a third of the world’s palm oil expeller to feed  “grass fed” cows on its “overstocked” dairy farms.

TL;DR Spin and deflection is used because it takes attention away from the real issue at hand – the treatment of calves within the NZ dairy industry is barbaric and to change it means accepting a loss in profitability. The industry is scared international publicity will affect its bottom line because it knows poor treatment of calves is endemic, and doesn’t see a way to control it. Far better from their perspective to use spin to cover it up, and continue business as usual

Have you seen an example of how spin and counter offensive are used to avoid action in NZ? let us know.

You may also be interested in

Thought for the day – NZ’s dairy pollution is equivalent to the population of China – spread over a land mass that is 1/35th of China’s.

Kiwi caught hammering Chilean calves to death, 1.5 million unwanted calves in NZ it took an outcry in Chile to shame NZ not to promote its barbaric farming practices abroad…

#1080 threat in NZ infant formula. ‘Good day to bury bad news’ brought forward due to media leak It has taken 4 months for the alleged threat to be made public. This has prompted speculation that today’s announcement was to detract from something potentially more damaging for the National government – their impending defeat in the Northland by-election, caused by the ‘sudden’ resignation of National MP, Mike Sabin…

Is Fonterra’s industrial dairying fuelling Indonesia’s forest fires? Thanks to Fonterra, New Zealand is implicated in the catastrophic forest fires currently raging across Indonesia. Fonterra currently imports a third of the world’s palm kernel expeller (PKE) to feed its industrial dairying herds, with figures reaching record highs this year. PKE is a product of the palm industry, much of which is operating unsustainably. It’s used as a supplementary feed on overstocked dairy farms up and down the country.

Dr Mike Joy threatened for whistleblowing (NZ Listener)

(Dr Mike Joy) became a household name three years ago after he was quoted in the New York Times on the eve of the release of The Hobbit saying the pristine environment portrayed in the film was at odds with this country’s poor showing against many international benchmarks. Previously, an article he’d written saying that New Zealand was “delusional” about its environmental performance was used to embarrass Prime Minister John Key in a high-profile interview with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur.

.After the New York Times story, political lobbyist Mark Unsworth emailed Joy, accusing the Massey University ecologist of economic sabotage and describing him and his cohorts as “the foot and mouth disease” of the tourism industry. “Most ordinary people in NZ would happily have you lot locked up,” he wrote. Political activist Cameron Slater blogged that Joy ought to be “taken out and shot at dawn” for his treachery. The New Zealand Herald accused Joy of overstatement, and scolded that his damaging analysis had reached an international audience.




2 thoughts on “Spin and Counter Offensive, How NZ Deals with Bad News. Contaminated with Cruelty

  1. Living in rural New Zealand, you will see the appalling treatment of both livestock, cows, sheep and wildlife. The New Zealand government and rural communities and NZ farmers are all involved in the abuse of animals and will behave passive aggressively to anyone from a modern country other than NZ who questions their barbarity and cruelty to animals.

  2. I’ve stopped buying milk since I saw this. As a country we should work together to get it sorted out.

Comments are closed.