In March a petition with over 100,000 signatures was handed in to the UK government, by the British Veterinary Association (BVA). The petition, raised by the BVA, was an attempt to stop slaughter without stunning, which is the current method used in halal (Muslim) and shechita (Jewish) meat industry.

The BVA and animal welfare organisations are against these forms of slaughter as the animal is conscious while killed and often takes several minutes to die. Stunning before slaughter minimises pain and suffering.

The UK government said it had “no intention” of outlawing religious slaughter, regardless of public feeling, or advice from the country’s top vets – people who obviously know what they are talking about. In fact the UK government have said that it is more a case of religious prejudice then animal welfare. Well I’m not Muslim or Jewish and I certainly find it offensive to be given halal or kosher foods. It has nothing to do with my beliefs and should not be forced on to me. When I’m handed this type of food I find it very prejudicial.

There are animal welfare laws in the UK. Laws that state that an animal must be stunned before slaughter. Religious groups are exempted from this law.

Is it right to condone the breaking of a law because of someone’s religious belief?

Lee Rigby was murdered in broad daylight by Michael Adebolajo, and Michael Adebowale who said they were doing it for religious reasons. Were they exempted from murder? Thankfully not.

So why is the UK government allowing the painful death of living creatures just because of some medieval religious reason?

According to the website (, What is Shechita?
“Shechita is performed by a highly trained shochet. The procedure consists of a rapid and expert transverse incision with an instrument of surgical sharpness (a chalaf), which severs the major structures and vessels at the neck. This causes an instant drop in blood pressure in the brain and immediately results in the irreversible cessation of consciousness. Thus, shechita renders the animal insensible to pain, dispatches and exsanguinates in a swift action, and fulfils all the requirements of humaneness and compassion.”

In the case of mammals, the thoracic cavity has to be examined to make sure there are no lesions on the organs in the chest. This is often done before the animal is dead.

Halal slaughter is very similar: the cutting of the throat without the animal being stunned, and then allowing it to die while a prayer to Allah is said over it. It is supposed to be done with a sharp knife and well away from any other animal – alive or dead – so that the animal being slaughtered does not get stressed.

At least that’s what these religious groups are saying.

An undercover investigation in Yorkshire filmed animals being kicked and stamped on, as well as being hacked to death in a halal abattoir.

An abattoir in Beirut was closed down after world outrage of animals being kicked, beaten, stamped on, as well as bulls being dragged by fingers in their eye sockets.

After public outrage, Australia has stopped exporting cattle to Indonesia because of cruelties inflicted on the animals.

An Asian abattoir in Florida is currently being investigated because of animals being skinned alive or having their heads turned 360 degrees to kill them.

All very religious I’m sure.

I often hear religious people say that their God created the Earth and everything on it. Surely if God is the prime artist and you ‘respect’ the artist then you would see the artists work as being priceless? Or am I being naïve? Why do some religions think that they can commit any kind of brutality and it’s ok?

I believe that everything on Earth has a soul and is created by God, or by this miraculous planet that we live on. We are all connected to this planet and cannot live without the other creatures on it.

I also believe in natural justice – you only need look at the state of the Middle East to see it at work.

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It’s Over!

Ok it’s over. We can all get our breath back again. Just another 12 months to wait for it to start up once more. Not long to go.

I had a lovely Christmas spent with family. Playing games and eating a really nice dinner. Lots of chocolates going round. And bloody awful TV! Apart from Mrs Brown’s Boys, which makes me laugh even after watching it 8 times, there was nothing at all decent on the box. We ended up watching my grandson’s new DVD, Horrid Henry, about 12 times. Some of the family wanted to see the news but it was so full of doom and gloom, so utterly depressing, that it was banned.

Tomorrow I’m back at work. How utterly exciting. Can’t wait. (Pure sarcasm there.)

I’m so glad I wasn’t in this weekend. I can just imagine what they’ve had to deal with. All the customers who have had problems over Christmas and have been trying to get through to claims but keep pressing the wrong options and getting no one. The very first option is ‘if you want an engineer’. There are many people who don’t press option 1. They could have no heating, or water leaking through the ceiling, but they’ll still press ‘for any other enquiry’ option. When we get back to work they come through and have a go at us, like it’s our fault that they can’t be bothered to listen.

Oh yes, I can’t wait to get back to work.



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Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings

Well it’s the time of year for spending again. Get your pay early so you can spend it on family and friends and loads of food that you don’t need, but the compost bin will enjoy. That sounds a bit miserable doesn’t it? But it’s true! Those of us enjoying a celebration at this time of the year go overboard. We don’t need to. But we love doing it. You know I’m right.

And every year most of us say that we didn’t need to get all of that food so we’re not going to do it next year. But next year we spend more. Why? Well in my opinion it’s very simple. Although we may have a religious celebration, the main celebration centres around our loved ones. It’s the one time of the year when we hate and we love having our family around. Love and hate are two sides of the same coin – you can’t have one without the other. When it comes to family and this time of the year, this particular coin is being tossed constantly.

So whether we spend the money from a desire to shower our family with gifts because we love them, or because we want to get one up on the rich aunt and uncle, or even keep up with the neighbours, spend we do. We’re helped of course by the stores who are all too eager to offer encouragement.

So I know I’m a bit late with this, but HAPPY SOLSTICE for all my Pagan friends. I was busy greeting my parents who are spending a week with us.

HAPPY HANUKKAH for all my Jewish friends.

MERRY CHRISTMAS for all my Christian friends.

And for all my friends who are atheist, or just couldn’t give a damn about religion – HAPPY HOLIDAYS, SEASONS GREETINGS.

I hope everyone has a good time, and party’s safely.

Enjoy the January sales!



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Call Centre Explodes!

I’m reading a book about making money on the internet. One section deals with blogs and suggests increasing readership with dramatic headlines. Hence today’s headline. It isn’t actually true. The call centre hasn’t exploded. But did it grab attention? Did it increase curiosity?

It’s the type of thing that newspapers use to get reader attention. They use a dramatic headline that often has no bearing on what the story is about, or else they’ll use dramatic wording that is totally illogical. One example that immediately springs to my mind is the headline ‘Crocodile Attacks Swimmer’. This was in the papers a few years ago.

The online dictionary states the definition of the word ‘attack’ as:

1. To set upon with violent force.
2. To criticize strongly or in a hostile manner.
3. To start work on with purpose and vigour.
4. To begin to affect harmfully.

So to attack is to use violence. But surely to use violence, or to attack, is an act requiring some thought. It’s a purposeful or deliberate act. So did the crocodile attack with purpose? You could say that it’s purpose was to procure food. But do we attack to obtain food? It’s certainly an act of violence to kill, and it could be called an attack. The guy jumped into the lake without looking. Did the crocodile have time to attack? Or did it see a chance of quick meal and act accordingly? Could the spur of the moment act be classed as an attack? Or defence?

I think this headline is completely misleading. It should have read ‘Guy jumps on top of crocodile and animal defends itself, obtaining a free meal at the same time’. I doubt that this would be an attention grabbing headline though.


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Back To Work Tomorrow

I’ve had a lovely week off but it’s back to work tomorrow. Don’t want to go in! I’ve had so much to do at home and I’ve not finished.

I started the painting in the bedroom. I’ve done about 1/3 of it so far. I’ve also been moving furniture upstairs and going through a lot of things. Threw a few things out. Still a lot more to go through. And a lot more painting to do.

I’m also starting my diet tomorrow. Doing it myself, but I’ll be following the plan of well known company. I’ve used it before and know it works as long as you stick to it. It’s the sticking to it that is the problem.

Working in the call centre means I’m sitting all day. Not good. Food lands on your ass and stays there. I need to start and get it shifted. My clothes are starting to get a little too tight!

Back To The Grind

Just been on holiday, but it’s back to the grind on Monday.

Had a lovely week down Somerset but couldn’t get any internet connection. Went on one of those cheap Sun holidays at a well known park. Great for kids. Entertainment is great for the kids. The adult entertainment is also more suitable for the kids.

The customer service is not good. We’ve seen a family complaining only to be told: ‘This is what it is. You accept it or you can have your money back and go home.’ We’ve seen people throwing out soiled mattresses as well. I empty the cupboards as soon as we get there and wash everything. I’ve never seen so many food stains on crocks.

We went for breakfast buffet on the day we were leaving, and couldn’t believe the mess. The food was all open with flies swarming around. The breakfast cereal was all over the table and in the sugar. There was a big tank of milk where the handle and the spout were covered with stale and solid milk residue. At the toaster people were picking up bread to see if it was soft, and putting it back if it wasn’t. So they were handling the bread that other people may have wanted. There were ladles with the hot food at least.

The assistants were removing plates but were there was no one watching over the food. It reminded me of a kids birthday party where the toddlers love putting their fingers in the jelly and trifle, and love playing with the cakes before they get something to eat.

On Thursday we had went for the lunch buffet. It wasn’t a mess. It was nicely set out. It consisted of a few salads – pasta, potato – with dishes of cucumber, and cheese. There were some long rolls and butter. The hot food was sausage and chips. This was a buffet. We made sure we ate our full.

Now it’s all back to normal and being at home and work again on Monday.

Phone Etiquette Part 1

We constantly get callers who don’t know how to use the telephone with the correct etiquette – or manners as it’s more commonly called. Here’s a list of some of the more common rude mannerisms.

1) The Hollywood Actor
We’ve all seen the films where some actor or another has to use the phone. They never hold it correctly. The receiver is always held with the hand around the phone. If it’s the conventional landline then the hand is around the mouth piece at the bottom of the phone. If it’s a mobile their hand is usually around the whole phone especially the bottom part where the mouth piece is. They don’t worry – they’re actors and not actually making a real phone call. But many people – wannabe Hollywood actors – do exactly the same thing when they’re making a real phone call. Result? All we hear is a garbled, muffled sound. We haven’t got a clue what you’re going on about so there’s really no point in you phoning us. Go away.

2) The Nervy Type
This is the person who is so nervous about phoning in that they actually haven’t stopped to think about what they’re phoning for. All we get is a load of stuttering, uming and arghing, and then a story that is so disjointed it makes no sense whatsoever. Result? We are literally left speechless. Although we have a lot of sympathy for nervous people – we don’t bite – we would much rather you think about what you want before phoning us. Write it down if it helps. Or talk slowly until things come back to you.

3) The Ill Person
We really have no business knowing about your ills and woes. It has nothing to do with us. You may be really sick – we do have sympathy and feeling towards people. We are human after all. But telling us a sob story about the 16 different types of illness you have will not get you a discount. Then there’s the people who have coughs and colds. Now I know we are all prone to these annoying maladies, and we all have to continue our normal daily stuff (accept if you have man flu and then the rest of us have extra chores). But when you call someone it is a very good idea to give your nose a good blow before phoning. Also have a good cough before calling. Keep a glass of water handy. Coughing down the phone, sniffing down the phone, or blowing your nose while on the phone certainly won’t pass the virus to us, but it makes us feel nauseous. We are not going to sit at our desk and start vomiting. Being made to vomit is against our health and safety therefore you will get cut off.

4) The Chewer
It’s definitely not cool to phone someone while you are chewing or eating. It sounds disgusting. Slurping down the phone is not trendy or fashionable. Why not put the food down or chuck the chewing gum when you make a phone call? It’s bad manners to eat down the phone, it sounds sickening, and you deserve to be cut off.

5) The Shouter
Trust me on this. If we can’t hear you we will tell you. There’s no need for you to assume that we are deaf. We work in a call centre and so far I have not met anyone in there who has hearing difficulties. If you, the customer, has hearing difficulties please don’t assume that we do also. We don’t. You do not have to shout. We can’t do our job properly if we have the hold the headset a foot away from our ears.

Here’s just a few to get started. Part 2 coming up…

Putting On Weight

I’ve put on a few pound working at the call centre. Actually it’s a bit more than a few. The frequent buffets we have don’t help. We seem to have one to celebrate anything and everything, whether it’s a religious festival, a birthday, a leaving, an engagement, absolutely anything will do as an excuse to stuff our faces.

I lost two stone a year or so back, following a well known diet plan. After a while I got fed up with following it and have now put a stone back on. Not good.

It doesn’t help sitting down all day, the food hits the bum and can’t go anywhere else. I saw a program on TV saying we stand at our desk as much as possible as it helps to lose weight. I tried that. I got back ache bending down to type. The standing was soon given up.

I decided, before Christmas, that I needed to eat better. I already eat a lot of veg. I love my veg. I don’t eat much meat, so have decided to cut it out completely. After all, they tell you to eat 5 fruit/veg a day. They don’t say anything about eating meat. I don’t eat much fruit so I’ve bought some and I’m making a real effort to eat it.

As my downfall is crisps – I love savoury food – I thought I’d try nuts instead. Again something the food-powers-that-be tell you to eat for the ‘good’ fat and protein. I’ve mixed the nuts with seeds and a bit of dried fruit. This was planned before Christmas, which was full of chocolate, crisps, and biscuits.

Since new year I’ve not had any crisps or chocolate – apart from new year’s day when I had a buffet. So far so good. I’ve a lost a pound and half in the last few days chomping on nuts and seeds at my desk, with my box full of various veg for lunch and tea. It’ll be interesting to see if I can continue with this and for how long. I’ll just have to try better than I usually do…

Money Raising For Charity

One of my colleagues is currently raising money for a charity helping the widows and orphans in Syria. She organised a day last week to sell samosas, spring rolls, and raffle tickets. I helped, along with two other colleagues.

The four of us spent the whole day walking around the site raising money. We didn’t even manage to get to all the departments. We raised over £600 in one day, and we are doing it again tomorrow.

People jumped at the food – everybody loves samosas! But many people were putting their hands in their pockets and giving us handfulls of coins, and notes of all denominations. On top of this we had a colleague who runs a restaurant part time donating a meal for two. We were then donated another meal for two by a colleagues cousin. We were already selling raffle tickets for a big hamper – all the items in it new and donated. So we have two more prizes to raffle off tomorrow.

I would definitely recommend rasing money for charity if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps. It was so nice to see how caring people are and how generous we can all be. It lifted my spirits, and I’m pretty sure my colleagues would say the same.

It was a very tiring day. I could hardly walk when I went home. Had to put my feet in the foot massager for 1/2 hour. I was absolutely fine the next morning. Had a lovely cheer-up too. One of my colleagues who had helped with the fund raising is a fit young guy in his twenties. He said he was still knackered! Made an old gal like me feel so much better.

Work Canteen

We have a canteen at work, in the main building, that offers a good selection of food. It’s an outside catering company, and the food is subsidised by our company. It’s hard for me to admit this, but we are spoilt really.

In the building that I work in, which is a few minutes walk away, we have a coffee shop that offers a selection of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, soup, and a few other small things. And, yes, it’s a large company. Our site alone has 3 large buildings, each with two floors.

Along with the canteen and coffee shop there are also plenty of tuck machines around the site, and microwaves. In our building there is a microwave in each break area.

Anyone new to the company, or visitors, would probably think that we are well looked after. Jacket potatoes are cheap. They cost about a quid with butter, cheese and tuna. They taste nice too. Chips are cheap, stale and dry. Puddings are usually nice. Sandwiches are expensive, often soggy, and don’t taste nice at all. As an example, an egg mayo sandwich in the subsidised coffee shop is £2.25 while in M & S (free advert here) the same sandwich is £1.35.

The coffee in said coffee shop is expensive – £2.50 for half a cup of liquid and half a cup of froth. Luckily we have a coffee machine in each area – they’re free!

On the whole, if you steer clear of sandwiches the food isn’t too bad and is often cheaper then elsewhere. Sometimes I’ll go to work extra early to get a nice big breakfast.

Yes, I suppose we are spoilt.

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