Letters to the editor

Get along to Sevenhill Producer's Market this Saturday, August 26, at Madonna Hall from 8.30am until about 12.30pm.
Get along to Sevenhill Producer's Market this Saturday, August 26, at Madonna Hall from 8.30am until about 12.30pm.

Vietnam Veterans’ Day

Vietnam Veterans’ Day honours the service and sacrifice of those who served in Australia’s longest conflict of the 20th century.

For Australia, the Vietnam War began in 1962 when 30 members of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) arrived in South Vietnam to provide military training to local units.

Over the next 10 years, Australian forces would fight in fierce battles with the enemy, most notably the Battle of Long Tan in 1966, the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral in 1967 and the Battle of Binh Ba in 1969.

While Australia’s participation in the war was formally declared over in January 1973, elements of the RAAF remained until 1975 assisting with evacuation operations.

By the end of the war some 60,000 personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had served.

Tragically, 521 Australians died, and some 3,000 were wounded. We remember them on August 18. Many of those who returned from the war did so with physical and emotional scars, which remained long after the war and the effects of which often extended to their loved ones.

It was our Vietnam veterans who recognised the need for additional support, establishing a dedicated counselling service that provides specialised mental health and support services to all veterans and their families. This was known as the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service, but today known as the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.

As a nation we owe you our thanks for this vital service that continues to support veterans and their families, and which will be an enduring legacy of our Vietnam veterans. Thank you for your service. Lest we forget.

Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Who is suffering on dairy farms?

Dairy farmers are taking to social media, telling people that the supermarkets are making them work for a pittance. But who are the real victims here?

I grew up on a dairy farm and discovered while very young that cows, like humans, gestate for nine months, but their calves are ripped from the distraught mothers a few hours after they are born.

I remember lying in bed at night on the farm, hearing the mother cows bellowing sorrowfully, often for days.

Anyone who has witnessed a cow returning again and again to the place her missing baby was born, and often refusing to eat, will never again doubt that these animals suffer and feel grief as we do.

The male or "bobby" calves are usually sent for slaughter at five days old, terrified, cold and hungry, and can legally be transported for up to 30 hours, without food, to a terrifying slaughter.

The heifers enter the same cycle of constant pregnancy and milking. When their bodies wear out and their milk production wanes, they are slaughtered as "spent" at the age of 5-7 years old, less than a quarter of their potential age. And on top of the dairy industry being a living hell for animals, consuming cow’s milk is terrible for our health.

Cow’s milk is suited to the nutritional needs of calves, who have four stomachs and gain hundreds of kilos in a matter of months. For humans, milk is high in fat, a common trigger for allergies, and linked to many illnesses.

Asking people to buy more milk, and pay more for it, to keep dairy farmers in business is like saying we should all smoke cigarettes, to support struggling tobacco farmers.

Humans don’t need to drink cows’ milk, and we’re healthier if we don’t.

Let the invisible hand of the market do its work, and then the farmers can move (like tobacco farmers did) into more ethical products that cause less suffering, less human disease, and less pollution.

Desmond Bellamy, Special Projects Coordinator, PETA Australia