January 31st 2015

Here are two fun stories involving vegan activism, a slaughterhouse worker’s false teeth, and a neighbour at war with the sheep’s milk dairy factory next door!  And they all hinge around one concrete utility box in South Invercargill…

The Southland Times reported today that the sheep’s milk company Blue River Dairy factory has sold to an overseas interest.  We may not know how much it sold for, but the new owners plan on spending up to $40 million NZD to upgrade the huge factory.  It may sound a bit weird to many New Zealanders, drinking milk from a SHEEP’s mammary glands, ugh!  But in reality, there is no real difference between drinking the milk of various animals, we’re just used to cow’s milk being called “milk”.  We think it’s normal to take away a cow’s milk because that’s what our society generally does.  But like the fable of The Emperors New Clothes, doesn’t it sound so GROSS when you think about it?

We may not know what price the “Blue River Dairy” Sheep’s Milk factory sold for, but we can certainly learn from it’s neighbours across the street.

“Blue River Dairy!!!  Dirty Noisy Neighbours”!

As an Invercargill Vegan Society member, I thought this banner was pretty interesting!  I spoke to the home owner, and he mentioned how loud and polluting the factory is.

I lived in the neighbourhood much of my life, I remember when it processed cow’s milk.  The milk tankers would spill or deliberately flush out milk directly into the stormwater drains outside.  You’d walk past, and there would be a crust of yellow, curdled butter-looking gunk in the gutters, covered in flies!

I gave the homeowner a note about how Veganism was the best way to protest the dairy industry (cow and sheep alike!), and gave him a 1 litre carton of soymilk :-)

It’s just as creepy to drink a mother cow’s milk, as it is to drink a mother sheep’s milk. Both are made for their babies, both mothers are kept pregnant to keep their milk flowing for our human desires.  If we learnt anything from “Meet the Parents”, you can milk anyONE with nipples!  It’s hard to get the image out of your head, but forget about dairy, go vegan and stick with almond, oat or soymilk :-)


But you know what’s really magical about this story?  Back in 2011, this is the same exact spot where I found a slaughterhouse worker’s false teeth!


Right on this same concrete utility cabinet, I spotted a single denture.  It was bizarre, totally unexpected!  At first, I left them alone, expecting their owner would….um, remember where they took them out last?  But after a couple days I figured that wasn’t going to happen.  Someone else might take them, damage them, wreck them.  I took them home, and contacted The Southland Times with a fun story :-)

“Hell’s Teeth!”  “Where’d I leave my dentures?”  “This has been gnawing away at us.  We really want to know who owns these dentures, pictured above, or how they got there.  A reader snapped this photo of them in South Invercargill…”

Why, their owner reads the “The Eye”, and came forth :-)  And guess where Phil works!

Phil had been coming home from the Appleby Tavern, a bit drunk. He’d taken his (false!) teeth out on the way home, and I found them on the concrete utility box at the corner of Ettrick/Nith Streets.

Coming home from the pub Phil remembers “I lost my car, I lost my keys and I lost my teeth”.  “I found my car at the pub, my keys at the police station, and my teeth on the front page of The Eye”.

And Phil works at the Alliance Lorneville slaughterhouse!  My own father worked out at this very same freezing works, as have not one, but TWO now Invercargill Vegan Society members.  It’s a great plot twist: “The strangest bit of the story – and this is a pretty strange story – the dentures belong to (Phil), who works on the slaughterboard, were found by Jordan, founder of the Invercargill Vegan Society.  Food for thought.” :-)

I’m glad to have found Phil’s missing false teeth, and I gave him a vegan pamphlet when he came round to my house.  Who knows, perhaps these teeth are only chomping down on vegan food now?

 The newspaper also ran a competition to win a free set of new dentures.  Readers shared anecdotes of why they needed a new pair of false teeth.

The winner, Diane, a wife who’s husband Graeme lacked teeth.  “Please give my hubby a DIY”.  He’d lost all his teeth in 1987, and she didn’t want to marry him if he didn’t buy some false teeth!  “I guess the joke was on me as we married in February 1988 without dentures.”

23 years later, Graeme finally got a set of new teeth, thanks to “The Eye” newspaper and “The Lab” denture clinic.

It was a happy ending all round, a positive mention for the Invercargill Vegan Society, a man reunited with his false teeth, and a new set of dentures to make a Riverton couple very happy indeed :-)


And all because of one concrete utility box in South Invercargill. It’s a small world, eh? :-)




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