Our faux outrage at bobby calves


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‘We saw calves torn from mothers’ – shocking video exposes dairy industry cruelty
The man who exposed calves being cruelly mistreated on dairy farms said he was tipped off by concerned farmers and rural community members.

Farmwatch investigator John Darroch said he saw deliberately cruel treatment of calves at about 15 of the 50 farms he secretly filmed across the Waikato.

“We saw calves being torn from their mothers and left in the hot sun for hour after hour, thrown into trucks and then beaten to death,” he said.

Secret video recordings also showed bobby calves being kicked and thrown about at a slaughterhouse.

Between eight and 10 transport companies were filmed transporting calves — and all treated them in a cruel manner, Mr Darroch said.

I despise animal cruelty. I’ve never understood how some human beings seem to enjoy the torment, torture or hurting of animals before. I’m not an ‘animal person’ in any sense, I don’t have any pets, I grew up on a farm and I only eat organic free range meat – but the needless cruelty of animals disgusts me.

But so does faux outrage.

The story of people being abusive to bobby calves seems to drip with hypocrisy and faux outrage. People do understand what those calves are doing at a slaughterhouse right? They are about to be killed. They’re not there on a holiday and the human beings who have to feed the grinder of the abattoir have to emotionally be pretty brutal don’t they? They can’t see the calves as sentient beings, with feelings and fears, they have to see them as objects for abuse, how else emotionally are they going to slaughter so many new born calves every day?

Imagine that’s your job, what is most likely to happen? That you numb yourself to the slaughter and see the calves as objects or are you going to nurture and cuddle them as they are walked into the killing line of the slaughterhouse?

If NZers actually care about this then we will all be prepared to pay more money for the animals and workers who kill them to be given more support and safer conditions and personally consider either going full vegetarian/vegan, buying only organic meat or cutting down on our meat consumption all together.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

It’s easy to scream at workers who emotionally numb themselves to killing animals, changing the system it is far more difficult.


  1. I couldn’t agree more Martyn.
    What I wondered, when I watched the video, (and it was disgusting and foul behaviour) was how much is he getting paid? What are his working conditions like?

    Somebody who treats animals the way these people did must be rather discontent. This is not to say the treatment is excusable but workers’ behaviour in the work place will always be a reflection on the way they, as employees, are treated.
    There has been much emotional garbage clouding this report e.g. “We saw calves being torn from their mothers”.
    Calves have to be taken from their mothers very soon after birth. The modern cow has been bred to produce 5 times as much milk as it’s young can consume. If she’s not milked completely (so as to empty her udder) she’ll get mastitis. When she produces a bull or inferior heifer calf it has to be disposed of as it has no economical value to the farmer.

      • It’s a pity you did not use a few more words to explain yourself. Off course all cruelty towards animals (or humans) is wrong but we tolerate an economic system that creates low wage jobs dealing with animals then wonder why the people doing the job show no compassion for the animals.

        • Didn’t need to use any more words to explain myself. The point of my comment is clear, and to borrow the sentiment of VEGANDOGS50’s comment, to use the low wage argument as an excuse for cruelty, does not wash, it is still not an excuse for it.

    • the low-wage argument to explain institutional-cruelty doesn’t really wash..

      ..the vivisectors are usually well-paid..and those sick fucks torture animals each/every working day…

  2. I couldn’t agree more Martyn
    What I wondered, when I watched this video, was how much is this person being paid? What are their working conditions like? Without a doubt it was foul and disgusting behaviour, but generally, a workers behaviour in the work place is a reflection of their treatment by their employer.
    There’s much emotional garbage clouding this report, e.g. “We saw calves being torn from their mothers….”
    Calves have to be taken from their mothers very soon after birth. The modern cow has been bred to produce 5 times as much milk as its young can consume. If she’s not milked completely (so as to empty her udder) she’ll get mastitis. And when she produces a bull or inferior heifer calf it has to be disposed of as it has no economical value to the farmer.

  3. Agree that the system has to change. When animals are reclassified as ‘waste’ they no longer have any value in the eyes of some. It’s at the heart of modern farming methods. I hear of a few farmers who still raise them for beef and veal (not crated) like we did in the old days – it’s possible if there is a will.

  4. Just middle class bourgeois pretensions Martyn.

    Starving children=okay
    Abusing bobby calves=worst outrage since the French revolution…

  5. Shocking video shows dairy farmers bashing, kicking and throwing four-day old calves regarded as ‘trash’ onto bloodied concrete floors

    An investigation into the New Zealand dairy industry had shocking results
    Footage collected from numerous farms highlight severe animal cruelty
    Around 2 million ‘bobby calves’ are slaughtered every year in New Zealand
    They are taken from their mothers at a young age and handled violently
    Calves in a slaughterhouse are thrown, kicked and hit before they are killed
    Animal rights groups want to see an international boycott of the industry


    The video, which was filmed without the farmer’s knowledge, depicts a worker throwing the young calves into a pile on a concrete floor stained with blood – sometimes head first into the hard surface.

    He is then seen kicking one of the bobby calves in the head before it drops to the floor where the farmer kicks the calf again, this time in the stomach.

    The man appears to have no regard for the calves well-being as he leans across and strikes another from behind for no apparent reason.

    The heartbreaking clip ends with two young calves being dragged across the floor and laid in a smearing of blood before the farmer raises his arm and beats them with a lump of wood, rendering the animals unconscious before slitting their throats.

    The first animal twitches and writhes on the floor as the pool of blood grows larger and the farmer fetches another calf.


    See the Pictures and know the horror of this animal holocaust, mad butchers!

    “Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”

    “The unpardonable forgetfulness in which the lower animals have hitherto been left by the moralists of Europe is well known. It is pretended that the beasts have no rights. They persuade themselves that our conduct in regard to them has nothing to do with morals or (to speak the language of their morality), that we have no duties towards animals; a doctrine revolting, gross, and barbarous.”

    I know of no more beautiful prayer than that which the Hindus of old used in closing their public spectacles. It was : ‘May all that have life be delivered from suffering!’ ” [From On the Basis of Morality]


  6. Wow. Just wow. For a city feller that’s quite the level of insight you have there @ Martyn Bradbury .

    As a one-time animal farmer I totally relate to virtually everything you touched on. Animal farming is a miserable and horrible business at the very best of times. And I’ve experienced those best of times first hand.
    I’ve watched and waited as I’ve sweated under a brutal mid Canterbury sun as the worst of times came along.
    I learned a couple of things along the way.
    The curse of enlightenment is that one must carry ones regrets around like luggage without handles or wheels. It haunts you and torments you and if you let it, it can consume you.
    My mum was such a kind soul that she couldn’t bare to see a motherless lamb so she’d bring it home and plonk it into a pen with numerous others and after an 18 hour day feed them all again for the fourth time. After a few weeks, the ones that were so unlovable that no sheep would allow them to bond became mums pets and they’d follow her around like puppies.
    After months of feeding and nurturing they’d slowly move back into the flock and disperse to become cool loner sheep. Then as the season rolled along and dipping or tailing came round we’d laugh out loud as mum would shout “ Sweeeeeeeties ! “ ( she named every lamb she fostered ‘ Sweeties “ ) to our mob of three thousand breeding ewes and lambs . There’d always be a few hundred that’d raise their heads, look around and call back.

    Then off they’d go to the freezing works. Every meat eater should be made to go to a freezing works. It’s said that if abattoirs were made of glass there’d be no meat eaters left .

    It’s my sincere and honest opinion that a future where we humans no longer eat meat of any kind will be a great advance in human evolution. The spin-off from that of course is that we will all get our sense of empathy back and treat each other with more respect also.

    Having said that. Farming animals then killing them to eat is one thing. Deliberately harming them for fun or from a rage is quite another. That’s extremely worrying and should get very close attention.

    One of the early markers to the budding psychopath is the pleasure they get in hurting animals.

    From my experience, the most worrying element in promoting callous farming practises is the effect that banks have on farmers. The Banks are the farmers number one enemy.

    All farmers should pay into a bank of their own creation and trade peer-to-peer when needed.

    • Trouble is, if we stop eating meat, we would dispense with them on the land they now occupy and take it up for ourselves

  7. I couldn’t agree more Martyn
    What I wondered, when I watched this video, was how much is this person being paid? What are their working conditions like? Without a doubt it was foul and disgusting behaviour, but generally, a workers behaviour in the work place is a reflection of their treatment by their employer.
    There’s much emotional garbage clouding this report, e.g. “We saw calves being torn from their mothers….”
    Calves have to be taken from their mothers very soon after birth. The modern cow has been bred to produce 5 times as much milk as it’s young can consume. If she’s not milked completely (so as to empty her udder) she’ll get mastitis. And when she produces a bull or inferior heifer calf it has to be disposed of as it has no economical value to the farmer.


      Of course the Dairy Industry wants to cover it up & play it down by saying “only a minority” but it’s been happening for years and it’s very common.
      Even the fact of shoving them in those boxes by the road to be picked up like garbage is barbaric

      @ Brigid
      1)- “calves torn from their mothers very soon after birth” is NOT “emotional garbage”. It’s fact and it is unnatural & cruel. It causes distress not only to the babies but also the mothers who are left extremely restless & calling out for their calves
      2) “Calves have to be taken from their mothers very soon after birth” – BECAUSE female cows have been converted into milk machines whose milk is designated for mass human consumption – again, unnatural.

      Humans are the only species that keep drinking milk -and of another species. We have been brainwashed by industry to believe that we need milk for “strong teeth & bones” when in fact this is FALSE.
      Asians traditionally don’t consume dairy products, & their health is better than ours.
      While our bodies need calcium without magnesium it’s useless and that’s only part of the bio- equation.

      INTENSIVE dairy farming has to be phased out. That’s the only way to put an end to these barbaric practices. Small farms for local production only, run by farmers who have a proven concern for animal wellbeing.
      Meantime, NEVER buy veal, & slash back your flesh eating habits (shudder)

  8. The issue here is speciesism. Speciesism, much like sexism and racism, is a discriminatory force of oppression. We humans often think that nonhuman animals are ours to exploit. We ignore their pain and suffering for our personal convenience. What happened to those baby cows is the just the tip of the ice-berg. Veganism is the only way such cruelty and suffering will end. It’s a choice based on empathy and a respect for the rights of all sentient creatures.

    There is no such thing as ‘humane meat’. It is doublespeak or a euphemism that Orwell warned us about. It is the language of authoritarianism, designed to justify injustice.

    Some will argue that such cruelty is necessary for the economy and jobs. American slave owners once said the same thing. In fact, the war industry will say the same thing. Global conflict is necessary for preservation of jobs.

  9. normally dont agree with anything you write but have to commend you on a very on the mark article on bobby calves.
    it was the truckers and pet food slaughter house (as opposed licensed abbatoir) that exhibited the rough behaviour not the farmers and i sure as hell couldnt work in an enviroment like that.
    never thought Id see the day when id congratulate you but full credit where its due. i look foreward to seeing if Cameron can bring himself to feel the same way

  10. carnivore calls for ‘change’..to what exactly..?


    and..’I only eat organic free range meat’..

    ..and that signifies what..?..exactly..?..

    • .’I only eat organic free range meat’..

      ..and that signifies what..?..exactly..?..

      That the animals have had a decent caring type of life I would have thought.

      • and so that makes it ok to prematurely kill them and eat them..?

        ..is that some kind of faux high moral ground..?

        ..and a ‘caring’ life..?..really..?

        ..gee..!..what happens to the male calves on tose free-range organic places..?

        ..that’s right..!..they go to the exact same place the other male calves go to..

        ..and how about all the male chicks born on those free-range/organic chicken places..?

        ..they don’t have to go anywhere..they are fed into the macerator..(alive..)..

        ..the macerator makes a sound like a buzz-saw/lathe as it grinds them up..(alive..)

        ..’decent caring life’..huh..?..

        ..so you probably ‘thought’ wrong..eh..?

  11. I’m still waiting for the better conditions for the sow crate pigs. Factory farming does not have to be so cruel.

    Under neoliberalism getting a better profit seems to justify any disgusting behaviour and cruelty.

      • @ Vegandog50, I’m not eating them! I’m vegetarian! Don’t judge everyone – you are giving vegan’s and vegetarian’s a bad name!

        • save..if you are a vegetarian..

          ..can you not see that by consuming the products from the cows the calves are taken from..

          ..that you are part of the problem..?

          ..this is all that i am pointing out..

          ..and if that disturbs animal/bye-product-eaters..?

          ..so be it/bloody good..!

          ..i have tired of the quiet/polite vegan role..

  12. No “faux outrage” on my part Martyn. The actions I saw portrayed on that video clip disgusted me and run completely counter to my personal philosophy, and professional training, regarding how we treat animals.
    There is no justification for a person in a position of power to ever abuse another person/creature, irrespective of the point that creature is at in it’s lifespan. Based on your argument, should we therefore treat people who go to a hospice in a similar fashion since they’re “near the end”? ‘Cos ya’ know, if people really cared they’d give way more money to cancer research.

    • do you eat animals words..?

      ..if you do..what on earth are you shouting about..?

      ..you are part and parcel of such ‘abject cruelty’ each and every day..

      ..to think you aren’t is self-denial on steroids..

      • Do you have a right to prejudge? you asked a question then replied to it yourself, based on your own assumptions. Is it relevant that I live a vegetarian lifestyle? which I do btw.

        Are you part of the problem? are you in self-denial on steroids?

        It shouldn’t matter whether people eat meat or not, there are still NO EXCUSES FOR SUCH ABJECT CRUELTY…. EVER!!! and if I want to shout that, I damn well will and I do not need your freckin permission to do so.

        • @ words..as you still eat the animal bye-products produced by taking those calves from their mothers..

          ..you are part of the ‘freckin’ problem..

          ..aren’t you..?

          ..that is the only ‘relevance’ of your ‘vegetarian lifestyle..

          ..that you are supporting this institutional cruelty..

          ..(maybe you should go and shout at yourself in a mirror..eh..?..)

          ..and if asking if i have a ‘right’ to ‘judge’..?

          ..i call it more calling out group-inconsistancies..

          ..(something ‘caring’ vegetarians are very prone to..aren’t they..?)

          • Defensive much Philip Ure? So are you posting under 2 ID’s now? And since you have absolutely no idea what I eat, what are you basing your wrong assumptions on?

            I do not support cruelty, “institutional” or otherwise, but do you Philip Ure? Are you yourself part of the freckin problem?

            Maybe you should follow your own advice and take a look at yourself in the mirror, and the only inconsistencies that you think you have called out are the ones you have made up inside your head, and no, you do not have a right to judge.

            • um..!..u said u are vegetarian..

              ..and that usually means dairy/cheese etc..

              ..if you don’t..and don’t wear animal skins..goodonya..!

              (and the 2 id’s is from getting an avatar sorted out..)

              ..and it isn’t about ‘me’..it’s about the animals…

              ..but i wouldn’t describe myself as ‘defensive’..more offensive..(using whichever meaning u choose..)

              • Didn’t realize there was a requirement to provide a detailed list, and yeah you were being an offensive dh. It should have always been about the animals, but you derailed it by getting personal. That’s not being constructive.

                • i consider what is done to animals far more ‘offensive’ than any words i could use..

                  ..and hard to know how i could get ‘personal’ with an alias..eh..?

                  ..and it is about ‘the animals’..and the cruelties inherent/down to not only killing/eating them..

                  ..but also from the consumption of milk/cheese..

                  ..these are facts..

                  • I know those are the facts Philip, you are not the only one to feel that way, but having a go at someone expressing it, (and you were getting personal regardless of your alias, Mr smartypants), was idiotic. I hear your anger, I’m furious about it too, and I am furious over animal testing as well, but that doesn’t give you any right to attack people who feel the same way as yourself.

  13. I grew up on a family farm, not here, it was in a different place in another country in Europe. I witnessed at a young age the transition that took place there from traditional family farming to industrial farming, and at what kind of cost it came. I realised in my very early years, that this will not have a good income, the intensive farming, the wide spread use of insecticides, of pesticides, of herbicides, and later genetic engineering, and especially the growing predominance of monoculture.

    We have it here now, we have it take hold of NZ, we have battery hens lay our eggs, we have pigs in tiny pig pens, we have cows that have calves once a year, as that sets off the milk production.

    On traditional farms, of the old style, calves were cherished, kept and nurtured, to grow into cows or bulls for future lives, and for future use of course. Farming of animals is not like running a pet shop or having a pet show on TV where you constantly go hugging and chatting with little loved ones, it is a business, of course.

    But any kind of farming must uphold minimum standards, including animal protection and keeping standards, and those are massively abused on too many farms in New Zealand.

    I remember well, when first coming here, how a NZer of Scottish migrant descent told me every year, how appalled she was about sheep farmers leaving their new born lambs out in the cold and snow when snow and bad weather would hit in spring. NZ farmers are still learning how to look after animals and putting up sheds is a new trend, it was not done for so many years, but is standard in Europe and other places.

    You do not simply leave out cattle or any other farm animals out in freezing temperatures, the rain or snow, you look after them. Same applies to so called “bobby calves”, why even allow having calves be born and then sent straight to the slaughter house? I heard a farmer ring up Radio Live a couple of days, proudly announcing how he “humanely treated” his unwanted, uneconomical calves, by shooting them.

    That is the reality of farming in y our country here, it may be that most farmers care, but there are damned too many who only see the dollar bill, or the dollar bill before anything else. They do not care, and that is why SAFE presented us the videos on Sunday on TV One on last weekend.

    NZ prides itself in its great farming success, in reality, it does primarily look at the economic output and puts animal welfare second, and that must stop.

    So I tell the two faced, useless Minister for Primary Industries, and also others in charge, get damned honest and do your jobs, and down dilly dally around, or beat around the bushes.

    I tell urbanites, in Auckland or elsewhere, go and take a trip to the farm before you spend your next holiday in Fiji, and take a look at your own country and how your farmers treat animals. Look at the products in the supermarket, that may look good, but are made with BS means, by abusing animals, and by pretending this is all tidy, good and healthy, what you get sold. Ask questions, ask the supermarket manager and even persons at the checkout, demand decent, animal welfare abiding farming products, and stop buying the products that are not made by respecting animals and their welfare.

    While you may have a tight budget, decide to not buy battery hen eggs, the pork from a prison cell kind of pig, the animal or pet food that contains bobby calf meat, that is of abused, abandoned and quickly killed and sold off unwanted calves, that the farmers and some others may have abused, as SAFE presented.

    It is YOU and your consumer decision, that has an impact, so think about all this, and choose and shop wisely.

    And good on Hans and others, present the the world the shame of wrong farm practices, so farmers and others in the business are forced to correct their practices.

    Thank you, Mike

    • I may add to my already forwarded comment, that I am outraged by some on talk back radio, and also quoted by news reporters, that bobby calves are a “necessary by product” of dairy farming.

      So animal babies are just an unwanted “by product”, how do new born humans relate to such comments, or are those making such comments so arrogant, they still consider animals as nothing but “products”, without any soul, feelings and rights to a decent existence?

      That does not mean abolishing farming, we just need to refocus and do decent farming, and treat animals well, I want to say!

    • Sorry for some spelling mistakes in my first post, I was in a rush, yet felt strongly, and compelled to send a message through.

      “I realised in my very early years, that this will not have a good income, the intensive farming …”

      “not a good outcome” it was meant to say, to correct.

  14. While not condoning the actions described above, it pales by comparison with the barbaric cruelty that is habitually inflicted on animals in Asian and Middle Eastern countries. A civilized society should have some concern for its vulnerable and weaker members, and other forms of life around it. We don’t do that thus we are not really civilized, despite pretending to be.

  15. Anyone who gets pleasure in killing an animal is a primitive and uncivilised.

    Hunting and fishing anyone?

  16. Outraged? Yes.



    I screamed at the TV when I saw those calves being kicked and brutalised.

    I refuse to be powerless in this matter and have done the only thing available; “voted” with my eftpos card to buy non-dairy alternatives to milk. From now on, that will be my decision at the supermarket.

    I will not be party to such behaviour with financial support.

    • goodonya..!..the pak ‘n save homebrand in the blue box is a good soy milk to use in tea..the others can be too thick/gluggy…too dominant..

      ..and after kicking dairy you will feel much better..

      ..that will be your reward..

      ..animal-slavery/eating is a total fucken barbarity..

      ..and in the future will be looked upon as such..

      • Funny you mention that, Phillip, that’s the brand I bought. I find that goes well in my coffee and tea.

        I’m also trialling rice milk and almond milk – the latter seems perfect with my brekky cereal (a mix of raw oats, low-sugar muesli, and low-sugar puffed wheat).

        It’s just a shame that the cardboard cartons are not recyclable (my understanding, because of the interior lining). Now all I have to do is find soy-cheese.

        I can’t look at the bottled milk anymore. Not with those images stuck in my mind.

        • re soy-cheese etc…check out the angel foods website..

          (i don’t use cheese substitutes ‘cos i no longer crave those textures/tastes..that changed with time..

          ..but as a form of cheese-methadone they work fine..)

          ..and as for the ‘difficulties’ in giving up dairy..

          ..i would rank heroin on 8.5 out of 10..

          ..dairy gets a 0.5 out of ten..

          ..so really..there is little excuse..

          ..especially when you factor in the environmental-degradation you are supporting..along with the animal-cruelty…and the effects on yr health/well-being..

          ..it’s a no-brainer..really…

    • @Frank – you could also stop going to the supermarkets too and support smaller industries that stock from smaller farms. That can also help farming changes.

      Supermarkets are about one thing, profit.

      Supermarkets are the conduit for intensive farming.

  17. On our small farm we animal husband 50-60 sheep annually and every one we know for their nature and respect them all.

    I cannot kill any one if them but hire a i professional to cull the selected to be killed for meat from the family, so we don’t see the killing but make sure they are given a decent treatment.

    I am shocked to see young bobby calves left to perish in the back of a stock crate, it is cruel and inhumane.

    • @ cleangreen:..what you do is also ‘cruel and inhumane’..

      ..you just hire someone else to do yr dirty work/slaughtering..(!)

      ..and that makes you what..?

      (go and stand over there with the ‘i only eat organic/free-range meat’ people..


  18. Just some of the many many things people will have to stop having/using if they want to say no to dairy:

    Chocolate biscuits and a vast amount of other biscuits
    Ice cream, yoghurt, cottage cheese, sour cream
    Leather products including shoes and belts
    Plus a huge amount of other supermarket food products that have some milk powder in them.
    Pet food.

    I’ve thought all this through myself over the past few months and come to a few conclusions

    This planet is a giant abbatoir
    The world runs on exploitation of animals as much as it does on oil
    We would need to provide hugely more alternatives if we want people to stop using animal products. Otherwise people who choose not to use animal products will be stuck in consumer ghetto.

    Sadly, I can’t live without real milk in my tea and love my chocolate biscuits etc. The only difference is that I feel guilty.
    The only thing I avoid is battery raised chickens, and try not to use other animal products unnecessarily

    • all of those things you say you would miss have vegan versions..

      (wot..!..and you just really really have to wear animal-skins..?..who are you..?..ug..the fucken caveman/woman..?..)

      ..and the world used to ‘run on’ human slaves..

      ..that economic-argument was one of the strongest against ending human-slavery..

      ..and something you may not have noticed..while you weren’t looking..almost all breads in supermarket aisle are now vegan..

      ..it never used to be that way..and not that long ago..

      ..and milk powder is used as an ingredient ‘cos it is so cheap..

      ..anything else you ‘can’t live without’..?..that outweighs the cruelty/environmental-degradation etc..

  19. The programme on Sunday was probably the best metaphor to show New Zealand’s darker underbelly and how we treat the vulnerable. Whether it’s bobby calves brutalised by truckies or the abatoir workers, or kids killed by their own family or children maltreating their own pets, the capacity for cruelty in this country never ceases to amaze me.


      >>>> WHAT ?? is THE PLAN of ACTION

      E V E R Y B O D Y ? ? ?

      * * * *

      What will >>> YOU

      Y O U ??

      Y O U ? ? ???

      do to STOP THIS ?

      Leave it to the “Government” ??

      (Wait maybe 10 years for some “legislature”..when /IF they finally acknowledge there’s a problem ??)

      Meantime it’s forgotten..


      1) Show/discuss this with as many people you know
      2) Get them to join you
      3) SHOW you are SERIOUS in your objection


      Slashing back your Meat purchases. esp Supermarkets

      This will have IMMEDIATE IMPACT which will soon filter back to “Govt”.

      THEY will soon get the signal. And be forced to ACT.

      * * * * *
      In a World WHERE $$$$ RULES,

      =Anti LIFE



      By simply


      ..And saying WHY.

      So EASY .

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