Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

White Lies

As the dairy industry lies reeling from plummeting global prices, the scare stories come out in the mainstream media. “Soya milk is worse for the environment than dairy milk” was the ridiculous claim made earlier this week. The positive to take from this is how desperate the dairy industry must be to be making up these kinds of lies. It all sounds very plausible and they got the Sustainable Food Trust to agree to it, making it sound like it's all for the good of the world. The SFT is patroned by HRH the Prince of Wales, so not necessarily very scientific and little more than an old boys club.

But as usual such claims came direct from the dairy industry and not from independent scientific sources. What is worrying is how many people are prepared to believe the lies to keep them in their comfortable state of disillusion. What is wrong with the claims? How did they manage to conclude such a travesty? How do cows disobey the laws of physics? How can they produce milk using less energy and inputs than growing a plant and feeding that directly to a human? The answer of course is that they don't and can't.

People keen to say that soya is a terrible crop for the planet are always keen to point to the Amazon deforestation that goes on in order to plant soy beans. The trouble with this scenario is that the soy grown here is 85% destined for animal feed. Not vegans, not soy milk, not tofu but cows (and other farmed animals) are the biggest consumers of soy on the planet. The soy plant is itself very good for the environment, if it is planted appropriately, it can feed 64 times the number of people that a cow on the same area of land can! If it has not been genetically modified, it is very helpful to the soil, natural nitrogen fixers, like all legumes, the soybean plant could help refertilise our depleted soils, if the old plants were left to decompose in the fields before the next crop. So let us please agree that soy is not the issue here.

Water is a very precious resource on this planet, although 70% of the earth's surface is covered by water, only 3% is fresh water and of that, only 1% is accessible to us. Thus we need to be using our water sustainably, as once polluted, it is costly to clean up again. Again all the plant milks, even the water intensive almond use way less water than is used to produce a litre of cow's milk. Even grass fed cows will require around 2000l of water to make just one litre of milk (Bear in mind washing down the milking parlour twice a day, swilling out all the milk tankers 3 times between each use etc). Compare that to the 370l that almond milk requires and soy milk is looking pretty good at only 297l per litre of soy milk. If you really want to drink the most environmentally friendly milk, then oat milk is the one.

The land used is huge, not only are dairy cows kept on grass in New Zealand, but their food must be supplemented during winter, with palm kernel extract, silage etc. This requires a lot of land, there is currently 2.6 million hectares used by dairy farms in NZ, of the 12.1 million currently in use for farming and horticulture. Only 600,000 hectares are used for growing plants to eat, yet there is some 2.1% of the total land available for arable use. We are under utilising our growing opportunities by up to tenfold! And dairying in NZ is the most environmentally friendly in the world! Yet our waterways are polluted and our land is suffering.

And we haven't even talked about the greenhouse gas emissions! Methane burping cows who consume oxygen and also breathe out carbon dioxide. Some 2.3 GT of CO2 equivalent is produced by the global dairy herds, that's 30% of the global livestock total. Meanwhile soybeans do not produce any methane and breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen! It's a no brainer that reducing our reliance on animal agriculture and increasing the amount of plant matter we grow will help mitigate climate change. Methane is the gas we need to act quickly on, it is short lived so our efforts in this area will be quickly rewarded.

Once you look at the facts, it is clear that there is no way that dairy milk can be better for the environment than any plant milk. Please have a read of the following articles and links and decide for yourself.

References

https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/

https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/whats-driving-deforestation

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46654042

https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:b0b53649-5e93-4415-bf07-6b0b1227172f

http://archive.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/environment/environmental-reporting-series/environmental-indicators/Home/Land/land-use.aspx

https://www.fil-idf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/FAO-Global-Facts-1.pdf

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Covid-19, 17/9: 1,007 Overall Cases, 4,500,000+ Vaccine Doses Administered


11 new cases of Covid-19 have been identified in Auckland today. 535 so far have recovered from their cases in Auckland alongside 15 of 17 in Wellington... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the moral and scientific case against Covid booster shots


A year ago, a Covid vaccine was still on humanity’s wish list. Now, we’re basing our economic planning - and the safety of opening our borders – on the ability of the new Covid vaccines to reduce infection, hospitalisation and death. Given this reliance and in the face of an evolving virus, there is a lot of anxiety about how well the vaccines protect us, and for how long. Will we need booster shots, and how soon..? More>>



 
 


Trans-Tasman: Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has been extended, given the current Delta outbreaks, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “When QFT was established with Australia, both our countries had very few recent cases of COVID-19 community transmission... More>>


Auckland: School holidays remain unchanged

School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo is the best course of action... More>>

ALSO:



Government: Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan

Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today... More>>

ALSO:


Power: Bill Changes Bring Fairness To Charges

A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced... More>>



Government: Parks expiry of licenses, WoFs and regos
As a result of the Delta outbreak, driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will be valid until 30 November 2021, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today... More>>



Child Poverty Action Group: Highest jump in weekly benefit numbers since first lockdown

The current lockdown has triggered the largest weekly increase in benefit recipient numbers since the first lockdown last year, and Child Poverty Action Group is concerned the Government isn't doing enough to assist affected families... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels