Monday, 6 April 2009


The Herald has the lastest change to the rural landscape - dogs are being phased out at meat processing works owned by Silver Fern. Anyway we asked Lamb cut to proffer some wisdom on the issue.

The issue of working dogs in meat processing plants is an old one. There was talk maybe a decade ago, of dogs being banned from the yards on the grounds that Tescos and its ilk, (fair enough) but also, because various animal rights lunatics didn’t approve. Though, in the Lamb’s view, Tesco’s underlying reason for this was almost certainly driven by pressure from the animal rights nutters, resulting in changing consumer perceptions, and not really driven by meat quality or genuine animal welfare concerns.

The alternative to dogs in the yards, is either the far less efficient set of rattles (not the baby kind; the metal, very loud, could be used as overbloated knuckle dusters kind), or the method the company preferred, the even less efficient plastic shopping bag tied to the end of a length of alkathene pipe.

Sheep and dogs have a long history. They are hard wired to respond to each other as predator and prey. This is not the case with plastic shopping bags, which Lambcut understands are also in danger of being banned by supermarkets. Where will we be then? You must understand that sheep can be frustratingly and spectacularly uncooperative animals, and, its certainly not a good thing for them to stand around in the yards, being jossled by one another, without easy access to food and water for any longer than necessary. The efficiency differential between a good yard dog and a piece of a shopping bag tied to alkathene cannot be overestimated.

Lambcut remembers when legendary Southern dog dealer, Ginger Timms was working at the Alliance Mataura plant. It was maybe 10 years ago when the company was first trying to get shepherds to give up their dogs. Ginger worked in the plant’s sheep yards and always had a big team of dogs about him, some of whom at any given time were inevitably for sale. Some wagg at the works, decided to take the lemon liquor out of Ginger by putting an ad on the company notice board advertising a dog on Ginger's behalf. The advertisement included a representation of the “dog” underneath. It was a piece of alkathene sporting a plastic bag.


homepaddock said...

This isn't new - the DMBA (in DUnedin) didn't use dogs years ago and other works have been phasing them out.

kehua said...

I`d like to see the wankers muster padocks without the old kuri. What these dickheads don`t appreciate is that most lambs and adult sheep are familiarised and educated to working with dogs and respond accordingly, in my considerable time on the land I have seen or heard of everything from chainsaws revved up (without bars on ) to bagpipes but none have been more effective than a smart Huntaway worked by a competant man. And therein lies the problem,if you get a good shepherd nowadays you would do well to breed from the bugger because they sure as hell are not that easy to find.

LAMBCUT said...

Yes you are right Homepaddock. Lambcut said, "The issue of working dogs in meat processing plants is an old one".

Kehua, all Lambcut can say to you is, "Well said. And to others, hear hear. Listen well to that man".

LAMBCUT said...

BB has The Rock; Lambcut has the Silver Fox. Faith and bloody be-gar, the Fox, who is a Catholic raised Wellington city lad, didn't know what the significance of a plastic shopping bag on a stick would be. Seriously! For those of you who can't guess. It a noise maker. An aural sheep influencer. A BB and/or Lambcut in inorganic form. Enough to put the fear of God into ovine or human beings, en masse.

Pique Oil said...

No dogs is not a new idea in the freezing works.
several hair cuts back they used to use Judas Sheep.
I wonder how the sensitive chaps in FGB would handle that treachery.
Good design of yards and good stockmen will handle the job ok. Dogs make it much easier.