Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Over a 1000 pigs die in fire, in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow - A look at the nature of tragedy

Hey, it’s come to light why Legend is so upset – more than a thousand pregnant pigs on fire: The dates match up and it was only a couple of KMs away from Harmony Hall.

I am a believer in seeing the divine spark in everyone but I wish that spark had gone off in the house and they’d been the ones locked in to contemplate their life choices.

They described the tragedy as financial – the dry sow shed was the engine of the business, each was about to produce up to 15 piglets.

Hang on maybe, what farmers have lined up for animals is indeed a fate worse than death. Maybe the half an hour of terror and suffocation and being burnt alive was better than producing a dozen piglets and then another dozen and then another, never seeing daylight and bringing the young in to a world of no hope at all. At least being burnt in an accident, isn’t personal.

This is similar to the first case that my Dad heard as a judge. A woman had killed her daughter, as she felt she couldn’t protect her once she became a teenager. What a difficult decision, she wasn’t a threat to society but she couldn’t just be let off killing someone either….

Unless it’s an animal. You can kill them until they’re coming out of your ears and even complain bitterly that they’re costing you money.

Hang on, notice what they say at the end of the article. The farmer goes on about how they have enough pigs left to keep them going until Christmas and then they will have to close the business. The insurance will take too long.

Does that sound suspicious to anyone? The thought process being, I want to retire soon and get out of farming. I just need one lump sum to start a new hobby in retirement and sell off my stock by Christmas.

Anyway, Legend says sod the fickle farmers, spare a thought for the penned in pigs – 25,000 square feet of chock a block pregnant pigs, black smoke, roaring flames and no one even opening the bloody door.

We are doing a soul release ceremony today, planting two trees in their honour and remaining grateful that more and more people are giving up meat.

I don't know which is most offensive killing gor business as usual or being compensated for loss of business. The worst was Bernard Matthews bringing in bird flu from his Hungarian battery farms, claiming it wasn't his fault and the government compensating him 6 million for having to put all his turkeys down - not care for them, drown them, gas them incinerate them.

Monday, August 15, 2016

More Great Harmony Hall B&B reviews

  • A really wonderful house with an ample bathroom and comfortable rooms. The host is very friendly and loves to have a chat with her guests while listening to good music . She made us a wonderful breakfast in the morning, also has wonderful dogs, cats and two funny pigs and a pony who believes to be a unicorn. Great and unique experience.

    August 2016

  • Pascale

    Nous n'avons vu personne hormis les chiens, les chats, le cochon qui nous ont super bien accueilli par ailleurs ! Aucun problème... Il faut être cool pour apprécier ce B&B et aimer le lait de soja et les animaux ! :-)

    July 2016

  • Pilar

    Francis ejerce con toda naturalidad en su entorno de anfitriona perfecta. Estuvimos muy a gusto en su espaciosa casa y con su compañía. Mi hijo pequeño,( 15 años) que compartían muchos gustos y aficiones, disfruto de lo lindo. Nos ha gustado mucho conocerte, no cambies! Eres maravillosa, alegre, nos acogiste con los brazos abiertos y nos diste todo tipo de explicaciones ... Por cierto, Kilkenny una ciudad o pueblo de lo más !!! Particularmente, creo que fue lel núcleo urbano que más me gustó del viaje. Gracias por todo Francis!!!

  • Jason

    Franc was very friendly and welcoming. we enjoyed the quiet atmosphere, spending time chatting with her and meeting her friendly and quirky rescue animals.

    July 2016

  • Karin

    We had an absolutely delightful time at Harmony Hall. Frances was so kind and joyous. We loved meeting the pigs and cats and dogs and unicorn! And had such a lovely sing song in the evening. A true oasis. Thank you so much. Xxx
    July 2016

  • Jamie

    Franc was a wonderfully gracious host and helped us book a room at Harmony Hall very last minute. She engaged us in conversation and welcomed us to her peaceful retreat/home. We even got a chance to spend time with her dogs and pigs:) Franc is very lovely!
    July 2016

  • Leticia

    Francis was a lovely host. The area and the garden is just amazing, and quite. The house has such a special atmosphere. We really enjoyed our time there. Definitely recommending it to others.
    June 2016

  • Ciaran

    We really enjoyed our stay; Frances is a lovely and welcoming host. We loved the house, the room, and the vegan breakfast. The cats, dogs, pigs, and horse are great and love attention - we could have spent all day with them :) It is a great base to explore Kilkenny city and county. This was our first Airbnb experience, and hope that others will be as good, Thanks again, Frances. CP and family

     What Ciaran loved about your listing: 
    finding a vegan B&B was amazing enough! laid back, relaxing, near Kilkenny, and the room was huge, perfect for the four of us.
     What Ciaran thought you could improve about the experience: 
    none! thanks for contacting us before we arrived and after we left! we hope to be back sometime if you'll have us!
    June 2016

  • Frank

    Enjoyed our stay. The house was really nice with a good relaxing vibe in a wonderful setting with lovely views. Frances is really nice and attentive and the 2 wee dogs are super friendly. It's a 20 minute taxi ride from Kilkenny which is the only way of getting into the city unless one is driving.
    June 2016

  • Stefan

    Wir hatten zwar Probleme mit der Anreise, aber wenn mann aus der falschen Richtung kommt und dem Navi sagt der kürzeste Weg bitte dann kommt auch über Straßen die kaum ein Ire fährt! Also richtet euch nach der Beschreibung dann keine Probleme! Wir haben uns gleich wohl gefühlt. Sie zeigte uns ihr Haus, ihre Tiere und sie sind echt alle glücklich! Das bringt sie auch rüber. Mit Sicherheit ist dies ein Ort wo man relaxen aber auch Konversation auf höherem Niveau erleben kann. Jederzeit wieder!

     What Stefan loved about your listing: 
    Herzliche Athmosphäre
     What Stefan thought you could improve about the experience: 
    June 2016

  • Roland

    Sowohl die Gastgeberin Franc als auch ihre Mitbewohner (2 Hunde, 3 Katzen, 2 Schweine und 1 Pferd) haben uns liebevoll aufgenommen. Unser Zimmer war sauber, das Frühstück ok. Der Rest des Hauses wird auch von den Hunden und Katzen bewohnt, und da bleibt schon mal das eine oder andere Haar zurück - man sollte also Tiere mögen. Die Umgebung ist sehr ruhig, der nächste Nachbar ist eine 100m entfernt.
    May 2016

  • Heidrun

    Frances is the most welcoming, warm-hearted and cheeriest host you could possibly imagine. We felt so comfortable and cared for during our stay. The house is clean and makes you feel truly at home. Frances is a committed vegan and cooks the lovliest food. Don't miss out on it. One of the best things about Harmony Hall are the animals, dogs, pigs, cats, and a pony, you could spend all day just playing with them. A place that makes you feel the love. Thank you Frances!
    May 2016

  • Charline

    Very friendly and smiling host. She gave a very precious help on what to visit and helped us get a nice place to sleep for the next night. The vegetarian breakfast was delicious. A very quiet place !
    May 2016

  • Florie

    Great stay in a lovely house ! Frank is very welcoming, we enjoyed the animals, the garden and the vegan breakfast.

     What Florie loved about your listing: 
    L'accueil et le cadre
    May 2016

  • Gary
    Franc was welcoming and the location was easy to find. The accommodation was great.

     What Gary loved about your listing: 
    Very welcoming and warm person. House was interesting and comfortable. Would recommend it. Franc is very alternative and lovely
    May 2016

  • Conor

    Friendly, great stay, enjoyed all the animals of 3 cats, 2 dogs, 2 pigs and a horse around the place. Had a great vegan breakfast in the morning,

     What Conor loved about your listing: 
    Friendly host and great breakfast
    April 2016

  • Franc was very welcoming during our first ever AirBnB stay! Lovely place, pleasantly unusual and charming.
    March 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Animal Referendum - How would you personally like to see animals live?

This is the Animal Referendum for Ireland but it will be sent to the European Commission too. In which case, more rights and welfare issues will have to be included. While we await a referendum being rolled out and finding out what people really want to happen for animals and which industries they will no longer support, please feel free to send your answers to the following questions to I will endeavour to establish what the general perspective is and by sharing it around, I hope to raise awareness of the issues and how they are connected.
Animal Laboratories - Yes? No?

1. Ireland is the Animal Experimentation ‘capital of Europe’? Do you want this? Laboratory testing on animals has increased 800% in the last 5 years in Ireland. 80% of the tests are commercial for products rather than medical. Even medical testing is just to pass pharmaceutical products as safe.

2. Puppy Farms Yes? No?
Do you think dog breeding and puppy farming should be banned? 

In Finland, it is illegal to buy a dog while there are any available in shelters. 

Here, dogs are bred for laboratories and for racing and as 'pets'. Stray dogs go to government pounds run by a Latvian company called the ACS – an animal collection service founded to dispose of dead animals for body parts. (Ref. Naimh Griffin, Irish Mail On Sunday found on Companies House that the private firm - Four Seasons Promotions t/a ACS are registered in Latvia. She interviewed director John Shovlin who refused to comment but the company then pulled out of the Carlow/Kilkenny Dog Pound tender process on August 6th 2015)

3. Council pounds to be run by animal welfare services? Yes? No?
Do you want stray dog and horse services run by private companies, paid by public money? Currently, stray horses are collected at a cost to your council of €980 per horse. They are not afforded any welfare or rehoming service and the ACS have a 100% kill rate. Rescue services argue that they could offer a much better service for that money or less. This is a live issue as DAFM, ACS and gardai work together, all on public money, to seize horses. Even when ordered by court to return them, the ACS refused and they were all found to be dead. 

4. Should all the abbatoirs in Ireland be closed? Yes? No?
Abattoirs serve the purpose of facilitating food companies and people’s habitual eating of meat. Up to a million animals are taken to a factory every month in Ireland and electric prodded into a machine that cuts their throat and then hangs them up in front of the next and the next to bleed to death. Would you prefer to go vegetarian and let the farm animals live? Their muck could produce the organic matter to improve Irish soil for organic crop production. This would move Ireland towards its environmental goals. The Animal Kill Counter << ADAPTT :: Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow

5. Intensification of Farming Yes? No?
Do you agree with the intensification of farming in Ireland? There is a goal of ‘doubling the national herd’ by 2020 and applications to open factory farms for pigs – 99% of which are already ‘reared’ in individual crates. This goes directly against environmental necessity; to stop animal agriculture. This is because it uses 15,000 litres of fresh water to produce 1kg of beef and the animals themselves contribute to green house gases through methane via digestion and muck run off.

Ireland is already over-producing, the farmers heavily subsidized showing that it is not even viable in business sense. The only thing it does is build an export market, profiting very few. The cost of unchecked milk production since the end of the milk quota has already brought the value of milk down. Those in the meat processing industry meet every Friday to cap the amount they will offer farmers for their animals. In one meeting, a cut of 40% in the value of each animal was decided. At another meeting it was decided that animals should be killed within 14 months rather than 24. Also all these animals are fed on imported grain, some genetically modified ‘Round Up Ready’ crops and some simply sprayed repeatedly with it. Either way, it arrives in the food chain in high doses. 

6. Protecting pollinators and human health. Do not import anything grown using chemicals that are banned for use here.
Do you believe that if farmers can’t spray a chemical on their crops, that Ireland should not allow any import of products on which that chemical has been used? If legislation is put in place to stop the import of sprayed products, it won’t give the unfair advantages of good weather, earlier harvests and the use of any toxic chemicals they want, to foreign markets, leaving our farmers with no advantage. Indeed with no incentive to grow anything.

7. Community Supported Agriculture for Ireland Yes? No?
Would you commit to two hours a week to a local farmer to support a shift from chemically-protected carcinogenic crop production to community-supported, chemical free crop production? This can all be done through the Community Garden Network. There can be Horticulture qualifications and skills taught, as they are already, through the BTEI and ETB and CGN to equip old and young alike. The implementation of more help to farmers has to be quick though, to help with weeding and pest control. This is in order to decrease their dependence on chemicals but keep a good yield from their land through the transition to chemical-free. Shift the adult education focus from health care – to care for all the prematurely sick people from a poisoned diet – and pig farm management – 500 new places offered this year…to Horticulture and Organic Crop production – so soil can be improved by the manure of farm animals but they are no longer bred to be killed.

The Chairman of the Community Garden Network has agreed in principle to bring community gardens into farms, if they will stop spraying and direct the volunteer support to healthier food production and food security.

8. Should Male chicks die in egg industry Yes? No?
Current practice is to throw them into a grinder alive. Second practice is bagging them up in dustbin bags while still alive. Do you think the grinding alive of male chicks should be banned in Ireland? It has just been banned in Germany.

9. Pigs. Do you think individual crates on slatted concrete are acceptable. Yes? No?
Do you think the chopping off of testicles, tails and teeth without anaesthetic is acceptable?
It is illegal by EU law to do tail docking on pigs although it is routinely still done here.  

10. Fur farms Ban them? Allow them?
There are still 3 fur farms in Ireland. Mink. Having never seen daylight, hundreds of mink are briefly gased and then skinned. Often they are still alive. The same with rabbits. Do you think this industry is acceptable of should be banned? 90,000 mink in each fur farm.