December 8, 2009
Some dairy farmers in Canterbury want to start cage-farming cattle. Federated Farmers are as usual right behind their men, possibly because agreeing with the Greens would cause an ideological feedback loop that could blow their tiny minds apart.
Do these people not read? New Zealand’s international reputation for being clean and green and cuddling fluffy ducklings while happy cows tap-dance around lush green fields is crumbling like a pile of manure left out in the rain. That reputation is a major point of difference that our export sector use to differentiate themselves in markets that are geographically remote, and flooded with competition. It is worth money. With the way information now sloshes from one side of the globe to the other in a matter of hours, it’s becoming obvious to consumers in Europe that we’re actually carbon-belching river-polluting freeloaders, and now these clowns want to provide pictures of cows living in cages for the Guardian to put beside an article about food miles? Remind me again about how F F are supposed to be looking after the interests of their members?
There’s a local consumer angle to this, too. It’s taken years, but finally you can buy free-range bacon and chicken at the supermarket, while free-range eggs are now practically a mainstream choice. If New Zealand farmers start keeping cows in cages, I don’t want to buy the resulting products. Will bottles of milk and blocks of cheese be labelled as to the type of farm they came from? I doubt it. Fonterra are a monopoly producer who treat milk as a bulk commodity. The nearest any of their products come to point-of-origin labelling is handful of boutique lines based on A2 milk (update: actually the A2 milk isn’t theirs, see the comments).
Surely it’s time we had more than one dairy company in this country? And maybe some representatives from the farming community who had more than two brain cells to rub together?