SPCA are common thieves

I have lost what little respect I had left for the SPCA.

In their latest exploit they have stolen the meat from a Tongan man’s umu in Mangere, simply because someone at the SPCA didn’t like what they were eating.

Because it was a dog.

Now they are frustrated they can’t prosecute anyone for it because the dog was killed humanely. This is ridiculous. It is the SPCA themselves who should be prosecuted for common theft – taking meat for no reason (they themselves admit that it is completely legal to kill and eat your own animals), and offering no compensation or even apology.

So, because the law doesn’t let them dictate what meat you can eat, they now want more laws so they can prosecute people for this. Derek Haddy of the SPCA says “Unfortunately under the Animal Welfare Act, nothing covers what you can do with an animal after it is dead” – and wants the law updated. But hang on a minute – why should the Animal Welfare Act have anything to do with what happens after an animal is dead? An animal can’t suffer after it is dead, why shouldn’t you eat it then? And what moral standard are they using to dictate what meat is ok and what is not?

I shall now ignore the SPCA until they offer a formal apology and compensation for this blatant theft.

See also: “Let’s eat some dogs”

Smacking referendum campaign

The campaigning around the smacking referendum is heating up. The excellent Vote No website and blog has been lauched, while the Yes Vote website is spouting amusing nonsense. Check out the Yes Vote FAIL blog to see some of the best of it collated in one place for your amusement.

You can also download posters and brochures to encourage the 83% of the country that oppose the anti-smacking law to actually vote in the referendum, and send John Key a message that he would ignore at his own political peril.

Happy debating and campaigning, whatever side you are on!

Thesis completed!

Finally, and only 3 months overdue (which is pretty good), my thesis is currently being printed for submission.

I am so glad to have that done! This blog has suffered a lot over the past few months, hopefully I’ll have more time to keep it going now.

How to make semi-soft butter

Andy’s excellent “Cooking with Andy” series has inspired me to share a recession-busting secret recipe that has been solemnly handed down our family from father to son since I invented it by trial and error last night.

Vegetable oils and butter are natural and healthy, but margarine has been chemically processed creating  unnatural trans-fats your body isn’t designed to cope with, and tastes disgusting. Its only advantages are that it spreads well and is far cheaper than butter. Semi-soft butter, despite being around 50% cheap vegetable oil, is even more expensive than regular butter – an absolute rip-off in my mind. It should be cheaper than standard butter.

So:

Take one 500g block of butter. Melt in the microwave until creamy. Mix in 2 cups of vegetable oil (plain canola oil is fine) until well blended. Pour into containers (fills 2 margarine containers) and place in the fridge to set overnight.

Voila, you have just made your butter go twice as far AND made it spreadable!

Enjoy on your morning toast.

Compulsory “volunteer” work

Gordon Brown has decided he wants to make volunteer work compulsory:

Gordon Brown has announced plans that could see every teenager in the country complete up to 50 hours of volunteer work by the age of 19.

The automatic reaction to something being compulsory is to resent it. No-one likes being told what to do. This is one reason why schoolkids here will play up in class and bunk – school is compulsory. In Africa by comparison, kids will walk for miles in bare feet to attend school, just like people in the West did in former generations – because school is a privilege that they value.

If Gordon Brown wants to ensure kids hate “volunteer” work and don’t choose to do any more than the bare minimum 50 hours, this is the way to go about it.

It can never be compulsory to volunteer. Check a dictionary.

Hat tip: Fairfacts Media

Is an embryo a person 2 – Twinning

One argument commonly put forward for why the embryo is not a human in the first 14 days or so of life, before implantation, is that it may yet divide into twins. If it can become two individuals, the logic goes, how can we say it is now a person? It must be in a pre-person state until it becomes two separate people.

Twinning is basically a cloning process, or a form of asexual reproduction. The one embryo splits into two pieces, which each grow into identical twins.

If we consider this from a purely atheistic perspective, the argument rapidly falls apart. Just because something may later become two individuals doesn’t mean it is not an individual before then.

If a bacterium divides to produce two identical clones, does that mean it was not an individual bacterium before the cloning? Of course not.

If the technology ever becomes available to clone a human adult (some claim it has already been done), a human adult could later become two humans. Does this mean the adult was not a human before the cloning?

The embryo is one human. If at some later point it can become two humans, that does not detract at all from the fact that it is already human. It only means that by killing it you have cut off the potential for two lives rather than only one – which is twice as bad.

Now if we add the Christian perspective, that humans are not only physical but also have a soul, you may be able to say the embryo is not human before it divided because the individual twins were not given souls until they separated.

But how do you know? This is pure speculation. God may do that, or He may give one soul at conception and a second one when twinning occurs, or (knowing twinning will occur) he may give both souls from the start… The Bible never says. We can speculate for ever but will never reach an answer. It is best to forget this line of reasoning and focus on the physical.

So whether you are atheist or Christian, the twinning argument holds no water. And anyway, most embryos don’t twin – how many identical twins do you know?

For a far more detailed refutation of the twinning argument, check out this excellent article by Alexander Pruss of Baylor University (hat tip MandM). Matt’s response is here, but he does not appear to really counter what Pruss says, just disputes some minor points.

I have discussed other issues around abortion in these posts.

Road works and the financial year

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time you try to drive anywhere and have to go through two separate sets of roadworks, where a perfectly good road has been ripped up and is being replaced to use up the funding before the financial year closes.

I like that New Zealand spends a decent amount on roading maintenance. I’ve been in Ireland, driven over the potholes, seen how the cars don’t last long because of the bad surfaces, and New Zealand roads are just a class above. Well, most of them, Ireland does have some great 120kph motorways. And my Irish supervisor did remark when over here that he didn’t like NZ roads because of all the road works…

Sometimes our road works just go over the top. There are still many gravel roads that are major thoroughfares. Diverting a fraction of the maintenance budget from ripping up good roads to sealing gravel ones would be a major boost to rural areas. And reduce the number of car crashes, save fuel, increase property values etc.

But I presume the money to fix roads is in one bag (state highway maintenance), and the money to seal gravel roads in another (local councils), and the bureaucracy won’t allow it.

So we’ll continue to waste taxpayers money.

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