Quality venison production

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WS² positioned for quality venison production

Wildlife Stud Services (Pty) Ltd, also known as WS², is an independent wildlife registering authority that delivers up-to-the-minute genetic advisory services.

Genetic experts address challenges in wildlife breeding industry

WS² utilizes the revolutionary ILR2 (International Livestock Registry) software by ABRI, the Agricultural Business Research Institution.

The software takes into account the specific needs and challenges experienced by the South African Wildlife Industry. The registering, recording and genetic evaluation system has an enormous international user base involving 45 countries. Jointly the global databases depict more than 40 million farm and game animals!

Highly-trained genetic experts and front-running SA wildlife breeders also assisted in developing and adapting the highly-effective WS²-system to address the local state of affairs pertaining to the wildlife industry.

The quest for lucrative outlets for venison products

The SA game industry was severely affected when the European Union announced an immediate ban on beef and game meat exports in February 2011 due to SA losing its free from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) status.

In February 2014 the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) lifted the export ban and declared South Africa FMD-free. Since then meat export to certain EU countries was allowed to resume on a limited scale until the organisation is satisfied SA has the necessary bio-safety protocols in place to prevent new cases of foot-and-mouth developing.

According to Agriculture Minister, Senzeni Zokwana, the ban had cost SA an estimated R4bn. The challenge now is to negotiate SA’s re-entry into the profitable EU market and to find lucrative outlets. In an article by Gerhard Uys in Farmer’s Weekly, Charl de Villiers, head of game marketing at Mosstrich, remarked: “We’ll try to export to our previous clients, but in Europe, wholesalers plan ahead and if something has not been on a European menu for a long period, people forget.”

Genetics to play a significant role in venison production

Dr Paul Lubout, head genetic advisor and managing director of Wildlife Stud Services, reckons WS² is perfectly positioned to assist game breeders in bringing a more competitive product to the local and international markets. Genetic selection will boost game meat production and assure a sustainable and high-quality product.

Wildlife Breeders’ Journal 2016

WS² has just announced that they have started planning their Wildlife Breeders’ Journal for 2016. Members are welcome to book advertising space in this authoritative publication. Please contact WS² at admin@ws2.co.za for more information.

Reference

Uys, G. (2015). Farmer’s Weekly | Game exports after FMD. [online] Farmersweekly.co.za.

The South African Drought

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Why the nationwide drought should concern every South African

Drought is once more in the news, especially the punishing and disastrous drought conditions in the North West Province. The maize crop is in ruins and cattle are dying like flies. Many farmers are facing an extremely uncertain future; they are in debt and this terrible drought has persisted since 2010. But it is not only the North West Province that is suffering from drought. All over Kwa-Zulu Natal water restrictions are now in place. The Limpopo Province is in trouble, the Northern Cape Province had much less rain than what is deemed normal. South Africa is in trouble and the shortage of water is just another blow to a country already battered by one setback after another.

City dwellers often fail to understand just how serious a drought condition is. There is water in their taps and while that is the case there is nothing to worry about. They fail to understand, however, that drought in the rural areas affects them directly. Crop failures inevitably lead to a situation where basic foodstuffs such as maize have to be imported. The price of consumer goods soars. Meat prices escalates and sadly, many rural jobs are lost and many small businesses simply succumb to the pressures of economic hardship.

It is high time that all South Africans become water – wise. This country is an arid one. Water is scarce and we are squandering a non-renewable resource as if there is no tomorrow. Experts have warned that there will soon come a time when water-shedding will be as common as Eskom’s load shedding.

Each and every South African will have to become aware of the fact that we live in a country where every drop of water counts. We need to be concious of the ways in which we use water. Instead of turning on the hose, use your dish water to water your garden. If a tap leaks, have it fixed. Do you really need to utterly fill the bath with water? There are numerous ways in which each of us can save water.

The drought that now devastates the rural areas will most surely influence your lifestyle. Take action today and resolve to treat water as a precious resource. Because it is!

Platinum Certification for South African Hotel

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Global First for Africa’s Greenest Hotel

Hotel Verde is the first eco-hotel in the world to achieve double Platinum Certification for LEED® — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Unites States Green Building Council (USGBC) has just awarded the establishment a second LEED® Platinum Green Building Certificate.

The green hotel received its first Platinum Certification in May 2014 for New Construction in the Green Building Design and Construction category, establishing it as the first hotel in Africa and one of only 7 hotels in the world to achieve this status. A second Platinum Certification has now been awarded for the Existing Building Operations and Maintenance of the 4*-hotel that is situated a mere 400m from Cape Town International Airport.

The prestigious LEED certification consists of 4 levels — Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The rating system encourages projects to earn credits by reaching certain criteria within a combination of credit categories. Hotel Verde achieved a whopping 89/110 on the LEED score card and raked in the highest LEED Platinum accolade. Some of the rating categories include indoor environmental quality, water efficiency, and innovation in operations.

Hotel Verde offers 145 luxury rooms, well-equipped conference facilities, a fine restaurant, a fully-stocked bar, and a 24-hour deli. It also boasts an indoor gym with cutting-edge equipment that feeds power back into the grid when in use, an outdoor jogging trail, and an eco-pool that utilizes plants as a natural filtration system. The hotel uses 3 wind turbines and 220 Photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. The multi-award winning, carbon neutral establishment rewards guests with carbon offsetting certificates to indicate their stay hadn’t had a negative impact on the environment.

Hailed for their top-notch, front-line innovations and technologies regarding eco-friendly building practices and design, sustainable operations, and using water and electricity sparingly, Hotel Verde embraces a green conscience by providing environmentally responsible accommodation to those of us who like to do our bit for the planet.

Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, congratulated Hotel Verde “on achieving double platinum LEED”. She proudly stated that Hotel Verde is “committed to doing business which contribute to economic growth, and continue to lead in innovation in the green economy.” She also expressed her hope that other businesses will follow suit and adopt these best practices.

Gay Marriage: Legislation in USA

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Gay Marriage legislation discussed

If you have a Facebook account, you cannot help but notice the vast amount of rainbow coloured profile pictures. On closer inspection, you realise that these conversions coincided with the passing of the long overdue legislation.

And while one states that it is long overdue, and is absolutely thrilled for those whose lives it touches directly, one cannot help but be reminded of all the places in our world that are far behind in terms of this revolution. Those countries that punish and shame those wanting to make their love formal and committed in the eyes of the law. Those countries that would kill and incarcerate these people.

Tolerance and equality is what our focus should be on, it seems. I realise that legislation is the end result, but surely this begins with tolerance, acceptance, love and equality for all? No matter the race, religion, political agenda?

I look forward to the day where these are what are celebrated and acclaimed. Without people being shamed, and having to fight for their basic rights. Love and be loved, accept and be accepted.

And to America – good on you for setting an example to those who need to catch up! Just in time for Independence Day!

It is time for a school holiday – Not again!

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Yippee or woe is me?

I suppose the attitude to a school holiday rather depends on who you are. I have been a parent for longer than I have been learner (… dreadful word ‘learner’ – what was wrong with ‘pupil’ or ‘student’? However, even though I am one, I am no longer a teacher. I am now ‘an educator’. Goals became outcomes and syllabus became curricula, exams became test series and people became human resources, prisoners became correctional services clients and policemen became community crime control managers. I cannot figure out how any of this is supposed to make you better at your job, more dedicated and caring and intelligent. More admin kills the good teacher and creates a hiding place for useless ones. Responsible people are responsible whatever system they operate in. Lazy people just get more adept at finding loopholes if system changes occur.

 5 holiday reality points for the good guys:

The good mother:

  1. I can get up a little later as I don’t have to get everybody up, dressed, fed and transported so school.
  2. They mess more and eat a week’s groceries in a day.
  3. Thank goodness, the big ones can help look after the little ones.
  4. I worry about unsupervised children at home, vulnerable to drug dealers and abusers, and no way can I get more leave.
  5. WHA-at, holiday again? They have hardly covered any work and will they be ready for exams?

The conscientious learner:

  1. I have worked well and deserve a break.
  2. Time to revise and get to grips with work I am insecure about.
  3. I can help my mom with chores and play with my little brother.
  4. I am going to sleep late. Winter holidays are the best!
  5. I should have asked more questions and appreciated the good teachers more.

The dedicated teacher:

  1. Too tired to formulate a thought.
  2. Relief: I got through this term without doing harm, losing my temper, falling behind with marking, prescribed work goals, a serious bout of flu’, losing my sense of humour/perspective/hope/job.
  3. I’d better start preparation/see about finding a way of explaining concepts they struggle with/ strategies to stop bullying/ getting non-participant learners to engage/cope with sexist attitudes of boys/ appeal to girls to protect their modesty/virginity, not letting disrespect/lack of parental involvement/ constant criticism from those on the sidelines get under my skin.
  4. Plan how to get into homes and put a brick through TV screens because a mere teacher cannot compete with the values and ambitions, pornography and glorification of violence that children drink in constantly. (There, you see, even teachers have fantasies of aggressive solutions!)
  5. Make up for all the neglect of my loved ones, because I barely keep my head above water during the term.

   

 

 

 

Author:  Suenel Bruwer Holloway

Suenel Bruwer Holloway lives in the country and does a lot of laundry, walks dogs, gardens and cooks. She also writes. She will opine on any topic, so contact her on florabundu@lando.co.za if you want an opinion piece and are brave enough.

Is there a silver lining to the dark cloud of a weak Rand?

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Is there a better future for the weak Rand?

Yes, the Rand is at an all time low. And no, there is precious little ordinary citizens can do about it. We have read so many reports about how bad this situation is for South Africa. And it is true: our weak Rand causes untold harm to the economy and the standing of South Africa in the international trading arena.

Is there at least some good news?

It is vital to try and maintain a positive mindset. Just look at this website and you will see what I mean: http://www.indivineur.com. There is always a silver lining. The terrible performance of the Rand is creating some opportunities for others, and we should rejoice in it.

Our film industry is thriving in an economy that makes Dollars and Euros stretch much further. Several American television series are now shot it in this country because not only do we have the scenery, but they are able to do it cheaper. Many, many jobs in this industry has been created in this manner. Overseas advertising agencies are also favouring South Africa simply because they can do their work at economical rates.

The export market should thrive from a weak Rand. Chicken farmers, fruit and flower producers and the wine industry all have excellent systems in place and could take advantage of the favourable exchange rate. The mining industry, too, will benefit from better commodity prices.

A weak Rand is a tremendous opportunity for small enterprises and individuals that trade on-line. Those that freelance as designers, writers and IT can either offer their services cheaper or they can make more money for the same effort.

A weak Rand can prove to be a tremendous boost for the tourism market. Those paying in Euros and Dollars can truly enjoy a luxurious holiday for ridiculous prices. Those catering for trophy hunters are especially well placed to offer very attractive packages.

Yes, it is true that the weak Rand will wreak havoc in many areas. However, opportunities still abound and those that have taken charge of their own economy will recognize those opportunities and take advantage instead of blaming circumstances for everything that goes wrong.

 

Winter has arrived!

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Winter is Here and It’s Time to Slow Down

Winter only truly arrives when the first (proper) cold front hits the country, sending temperatures plummeting and people scurrying to the shops for extra sweaters. The time before that – usually until the last week of May – is mostly used as an excuse to get out all your winter clothes and bedding and trying to get used to getting up and getting home when it’s already dark. But there is a beauty in the firsts of the season — the first cold front, the first frost (the first snow if you live in a part of the country where it snows).

The beauty of winter is not in the cold — which is all we seem to focus on — but in the everyday things around us. The stark patterns of bare tree branches against the blue sky of the Highveld. The pristine shades of the evergreens that brighten gardens and peek through palisade fences. People taking more time to sit down and just have a cup of tea and get warm. Winter is a way to remind us that we’re allowed to live slower, simpler lives.

I remember as a child how much fun I thought slipping over frost covered dried grass was early in the morning. Barefoot, I should add. And I wonder why I developed almost an aversion to frost. Just like you’d play around in the rain when you’re young and then suddenly act as if you’re going to melt as soon as two drops hit you.

Getting back to enjoying the child-like wonder of the season is, perhaps, the best way to enjoy winter. Like reading a book under a pile of blankets or really enjoying the warmth of a cup of tea or hot chocolate and knowing that, with each day of icy winds and crisp skies, the days are getting longer.  Spring is coming.

Author: Carin Marais

Carin Marais writes web articles, guest and blog posts, and fiction. With interests ranging from pop culture and technology to literature, mythology and archaeology, her writing covers diverse subjects. To contact Carin for articles and guest posts, or to read her work, go to her home page, her blog Hersenskim or follow her on Twitter @CarinMarais.

FIFA’s hot potato

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FIFA: Bitter-Sweet of 2018 and 2022 Soccer World Cup Awards

In sport circles, the selection of a host for the next Olympic Games or a world cup in any of the major sports is such an exciting and glorious event. Sadly, due to the recent controversial uncovering of corruption within the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), a dark cloud is hanging over the 2018 and 2022 soccer world cup events, even the one held in South Africa in 2010. The 2018 event was awarded to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar.

Key Players:

FIFA officials: Eugenio Figueredo, Jack Warner, Julio Rocha, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin, Costas Takkas, Nicolás Leoz and Eduardo Li were arrested and charged with bribery, corruption, money laundering and “criminal mismanagement” by Swiss officials in Zurich on 27 May, two days before FIFS’s 2015 presidential election. In total, 14 of whom current and former executives were to be questioned. This followed after a three year long FBI investigation. US attorney general, Loretta Lynch said at a news conference in New York: “They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest. Instead they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves.”

Spokesperson Walter Gregoriou denied involvement of FIFA president Sepp Blatter in any of the investigations whatsoever. After his 40 years of involvement in FIFA and four terms as president, newly re-elected Swiss, Sepp Blatter resigned on Tuesday, 2 June 2015.

For the love of the … MONEY

The love of money is the root of all evil, as they say, not the money itself. This has been the downfall of many a good man. Just think about the late Hansie Cronje, former South African cricket captain. This sad day marked the end of a brilliant career and broke a wonderful man. Although many others in the international cricket world had done far worse, Hansie was the unfortunate one to have been made an example of. International cricket is especially the target of match fixing and corruption. This completely takes the fun out of watching a cricket world cup series and makes one question the slightest uncertainty.

But it isn’t always about the money, though. Competitiveness in sports unfortunately results in many athletes turning to anabolic steroids and other forbidden drugs in their quest for being the best. The recent FIFA corruption debacle isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last scandal in sport circles. It is so sad to see brilliant talented sportsmen and -women follow these paths of deception, destruction and shame.

What if Mmusi Maimane Became President?

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Mmusi Maimane as President?

It is my humble opinion that we expect far too much from the President.  There are few individuals with the integrity and leadership of a Nelson Mandela.  Mmusi Maimane may be a hell of a guy, but he is not the next Madiba.  He is young, relatively inexperienced and has a long way to go to prove himself to the public.  In the new political atmosphere, statesmanship is a concept that belongs to a bygone era, a time with iconic leaders like Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy and our own Nelson Mandela.

Those who take up the reins of presidency are limited by the existing political establishment. They have to tread softly on the grounds of pre-existing conditions and legalities that could trip up a saint. Except for Jacob Zuma of course, for whom the political arena has been a playground with him the established boss of the yard.  In the wake of this presidency, it will be especially hard for Mmusi Maimane should he become president to turn back the clock to good governance.

The five crucial democratic indicators

  • Personal Security
  • National Security
  • Political representation
  • Educational equality and
  • Economic participation

as spelled out by the Ibrahim Index of Democracy in Africa will be the next Long Road to Freedom that any new president worth his salt will have to trudge.

Therefore I don’t think it will not make a big difference if Mmusi Maimane became president. Without addressing the underlying faults in our political system he will simply become another man who is liable for corruption.  Looking back at the development of our post Apartheid political era it seems that we were all very naïve to have imagined that our own colonial type government could bring about a different outcome than what we have seen in the rest of Africa.  A system that can benefit one ethnic group over all the others and that champions cultural differences over human equality can never produce a good outcome for all.  It is time that we set our myriad of differences aside and look at what we all need.  A secure South Africa is called for. One where farmers are left in peace to produce food and export products;  school systems allows for everyone to be lifted out of poverty through education and where a concerted effort is put into building public services that serve the functioning of our beautiful land.  Let us not put our hope in one man, but let us look to the people of South Africa to bring about the much necessary change through making their voices heard in direct political involvement.

Does the Weather Affect Your Mood?

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You may be suffering from Seasonal affective disorder

Do you feel depressed during the winter weather, but feel better when the weather and seasons change? And do you feel that this isn’t simply a case of “winter blues” or disliking cold weather? Then you might be suffering from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Psychiatry.org states that SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain. This imbalance is contributed to by shorter daylight hours and being exposed to less sunlight.

What are the symptoms of SAD?

The symptoms of Seasonal affective disorder are much the same as for depression. However, the symptoms must occur over a period of at least two years before a diagnosis of SAD can be made. The symptoms below must also improve with the changing of the seasons and weather. The symptoms of SAD include:

  • Feeling sad
  • A marked loss of interest or motivation
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • An increase in restless activities like pacing

How is SAD diagnosed?

Your doctor will do a mental health assessment and you may need to have some blood tests done to rule out other illnesses (like hypothyroidism) that have similar symptoms. Once SAD has been diagnosed, your health care practitioner will advise you on a treatment regime.

What are the treatments for SAD?

Light therapy – which increases the amount of light you are exposed to – have proven to be a very good therapy. In some instances counseling will be part of the treatment regime, but medication may also be required. This medication will most probably be a form of antidepressants. You may also want to use complementary treatments. One of these treatments is St. John’s Wort (this must, however, not be taken when you are taking antidepressants).

So, if the winter weather is getting you down, you find that you suffer from the symptoms of Seasonal affective disorder, and it negatively impacts your life, you may need some extra help to get you through winter. If you are worried about your health, or worried that you suffer from SAD, seek professional help as soon as you can.

 

 

Sources:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) by Mayo Clinic

What is Seasonal affective disorder? By Psychiatry.org

 

Author: Carin Marais

Carin Marais writes web articles, guest and blog posts, and fiction. With interests ranging from pop culture and technology to literature, mythology and archaeology, her writing covers diverse subjects. To contact Carin for articles and guest posts, or to read her work, go to her home page, her blog Hersenskim or follow her on @CarinMarais.