Policies undermining instead of promoting NZ farmers

A national tragedy is occurring and no-one seems aware it is destroying our farming communities and will ultimately do major damage to our economy.

The media have mostly accepted Government spin that farmers are damaging our environment, our planet and our international brand reputation.

It is no wonder consumers are confused and also believe farmers are responsible for global warming when, in New Zealand, nothing could be further from the truth.

In 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) produced a report that determined livestock and meat production contributed to 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GGGE), the same amount as transport.

In 2009, the FAO admitted it had overstated the impact of meat and revised it down to 14%. It also admitted it had used different methodology and under-calculated the full impact of transport which also incorrectly inflated the impact of meat production.

It is hard to un-ring the bell, and the incorrect information has been commonly misused to undermine our farming communities and the natural grass-fed free range production systems that provide nutritious single-source proteins essential for a healthy diet.

New Zealand produces far more food than we consume and most of our meat is exported, hence our carbon footprint per capita for food production is high relative to that of other countries.

New Zealand is responsible for 0.16% of GGGE. Of this, half is from agriculture (0.08%) and of that, half is from dairy farming. Meat production and all other agriculture — including crops and horticulture — contributes 0.04% of GGGE.

The truth is New Zealand red meat production has such a small impact on the planet that whatever we do makes no difference.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something, as we all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon and environmental footprint, but our Government is virtually forcing farmers off the land with ridiculous policies, including subsidising forestry planting that is destroying valuable livestock land cared for by generations of sheep and beef farmers.

We will not only lose the land, we will lose employment for rural communities and meat processing plants, and

valuable export earnings.

Many people think they should consume alternative proteins, including from genetically modified soya imported from Brazil (often farmed in former rainforest areas), shipped halfway around the world and bound together with artificial ingredients.

Leading cancer specialists have advised the major contributor to cancer in modern society is processed foods and yet we are being directed towards heavily processed alternative proteins or recommended by the government to consume more poultry that is artificially grown using hormones and antibiotics.

The anti-meat lobby will point towards studies on the impact of red meat consumption on bowel cancer, yet the truth is the most comprehensive study discovered that eating further processed meats every day increased the risk of bowel cancer by only 18% (due to the nitrates and artificial ingredients used in production of bacon, sausages and salamis) whereas there was no evidence to suggest unprocessed red meat is any way harmful when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

All food production comes with a carbon footprint, and this is often ignored by those promoting alternative proteins.

New Zealand red meat is grown on extensive farms that offset between 80% and 90% of methane and other farm-based emissions through sequestration of CO2 from the grass, native planting, shelter belts and set aside areas — and yet none of this is recognised or acknowledged by the FAO or our own government.

The Government is pursuing policies that fail to recognise our natural production systems and continue to penalise and undermine farmers when we should be promoting our natural low-carbon red meat to the world.

It is perpetuating a myth that our market access will be undermined unless we adopt their policies.

Taxing and regulating farmers into extinction will have no impact on climate change but an enormous impact on our rural communities and our economy.

For many years, most livestock farmers have been improving their environmental footprint while urban New Zealand has made little or no contribution.

Recycling bins have been the single contribution by most urban dwellers while we continue to expect farmers to do the heavy lifting to improve our image and carbon footprint.

Local councils continue to release untreated sewage into oceans and rivers, while the Government has done little to invest in genuine recycling and is only willing to subsidise electric vehicles by penalising farmers and tradespeople through taxes on essential non-electric vehicles.

New regulations regarding waterways could be the final nail in the coffin for many farmers who have been consistently working towards improving land and water quality but are now being forced into unrealistic farm practices that are uneconomic and impractical. For many, it is too much to bear, both financially and mentally.

If you have stopped eating New Zealand lamb, beef and venison because you don’t like animals being killed, or you don’t like the taste of meat, you have every right to do so. If you no longer eat meat because you think you are saving the planet. you are sadly wrong.

Unfortunately, we have a Government that is perpetuating that confusion and, in the process, destroying the communities that have led the world in environmental stewardship, provided economic prosperity for New Zealand and fed consumers around the world with some of the most natural and nutritious single-source proteins, that also taste delicious.

 - Glenn Tyrrell is supply chain programme director for The Lamb Company.


 

Comments

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The amount of nitrogen pollution emitted just by global livestock farming is more than the planet can cope with, prompting scientists to say we need to eat less meat and dairy produce. Fertilisers made for agriculture are high in nitrogen, but their use can contribute to air and water pollution, climate change and ozone depletion. Livestock waste is also a source of nitrogen pollution.
A third of all the world's man-made greenhouse gas emissions are linked to food, according to new global research that tracked produce from field to fork to landfill. Land clearing and deforestation, fertiliser use, livestock and waste all contribute to the emissions from the system.
Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses.
The research also finds that enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed it's rising population. The new research, published in the journal Nature, is the most thorough to date.

Eating less beef and more beans would cut deaths by 5-7%.
RethinkX projects collapse of dairy & cattle industries by 2030 as animal meat is replaced by cheaper, higher quality food made from precision fermentation protein.
"Using a Global Sensitivity Analysis (GSA) method, we will show that the UN FAO’s 14.5% estimate for the lifecycle emissions of animal agriculture is incorrect and that the correct estimate is at least 51% as calculated by Goodland and Anhang[3] and their lower bound can be tightened to at least 87% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change*.
NZ ranked 31st in the world for best environmental farming.
Harvard Researchers Claim Cows’ Milk Is Unnecessary for health.
Over-use of antibiotics in intensive animal farming is leading to increasingly resistant germs, thereby threatening the effectiveness of drugs used for humans.
71% of global arable land is currently used for livestock feed. That is four times the amount required for direct food growth (18%)
Unprocessed red meat (like beef, pork, and lamb) raises heart disease risk by 9 percent.

We need many more of these opinion pieces bringing much needed balance to the spin being constantly dished up by those who want to control our lives. Those who believe the spin (propaganda) would be advised to read up on history. Look up the Holodomor - what is known as Stalin's Genocidal Famine - "murder by starvation" .

“All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (Lord Acton). Those in power have come to believe that the only way they can think of to do “good” is to impose more restrictive laws. What is happening today is taking place world-wide. These people have come to believe that being elected to public office endows them with BOTH power and wisdom. The ruling elite no longer have the ability to distinguish between what is morally right and what is politically expedient.

The red meat industry is really whipping up the misinformation campaign. Ms Tyrrell is not an independent commentator and has obvious vested interests, hence her opinions should be taken with the same grain of salt as she suggests we should place on the anti meat lobby. As always the truth is something different than what is represented by both sides.
The Govt is not forcing anyone off their land. Some land is deemed no longer viable for meat and wool production. This is just change, it's a fact of life and is happening all the time.
Her claim that generations of farmers have cared for the land is patent nonsense. They have exploited the land and are now paying the price.
Her suggestion that leading cancer specialist are pointing to processed foods and additives as a leading cause of cancer is at best made up and at worse close to criminal scaremongering.
Her claims about hormones and antibiotics in NZ poultry farming are just lies. The NZ poultry industry has never used hormones, this is confirmed by regular independent testing. All farming uses antibiotics, again this is independently monitored.
There is much more in this piece that is misleading, but no more space.

Yep! Meat industry propaganda at it's best. I hope they paid the ODT well for this advert. That said when I was farming I believed in this BS also. It's hard to except the truth when your livelihood is on the line.

According to the UN around 811 million of earths 7.8 billion people go hungry every day (10%). Around 3 billion can’t afford a healthy diet (38%). And things are getting worse! Many environmental activists suffer from the Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake” syndrome. The stark reality is that as long as the population of the planet continues to increase the demand for food production will increase. Because of poverty and the unwillingness of wealthy societies to share their wealth (even amongst themselves) environmental degradation will continue. In choosing to either feeding your family or protecting the environment, the family will always win, and rightly so.

Global meat industry ‘using tobacco company tactics’ to downplay role in driving climate crisis, investigation claims.
Independent Exclusive: Meat companies are routinely underreporting emissions, undermining climate science and casting doubt on plant-based alternatives, an investigation claims.
Top meat companies are copying tricks also used by fossil fuel firms to ultimately “confuse and delay regulation” of their planet-harming activities,

This opinion price is the largest collection of lies I have ever read in one article. Any actual facts are completely misrepresented. So on that theme here is my tall tale. According to the department of BS, On this day, one opinion price released more hot air than all NZ cows combined.

This is both false and unnecessarily divisive. There are seriously challenging policy issues facing New Zealand's farmers, rural communities, and environmental agendas. The Ute Tax appears to be poorly formulated, and there certainly issues with immigration policies around unskilled/skilled and seasonal labour. However, improvement is much more likely to come from constructive policy dialogue than misinformed rants and cheap marketing tactics. To correct some of the glaring misinformation in this opinion, 1) Farmers are currently exempt from the Emissions Trading Scheme, meaning most of the above on climate change regulation hurting farmers is completely false; 2) The freshwater policies will be hurting farmers, but are not related to our carbon footprint, but the fact that 60% of the country’s rivers are unswimmable; 3) Recycling is also irrelevant to climate change. The regulations farmers are complaining about are much more to do with protecting New Zealand's water and biodiversity - both of which will help our economy, not hurt it. Stoking rural urban divides and playing blame games is harmful, and closes the space for the conversations we need to find solutions that work.

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