Environmentalist Damage or Damage to the EnvironmentMonday, Aug 20, 2001
The dairy industry appears to be the focus of the wrath ofenvironmentalists as they set about applying
pressure to conform to their concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ environmental
practises but it is clear that all the sectors of farming are under inspection.
Last weeks release of the dairy industry guidelines to protect the clean green image has become a vehicle
for farmer bashing again. The intent is to set policy guidelines animal welfare issues -physical
and behavioural needs, tail docking, inductions, bobby calf and casualty cattle collection and
environmental concerns - residues, human waste, access to wetlands, farm dairy effluent, water quality
and fertiliser usage.
But the key aspect of the industry guideline is the establishment of a monitoring regime to measure
the status water and soil in key regions. From these measurements should come the evidence of the
source of the claimed contamination and with that information will come
Environment Minister Marian Hobbs has gone out of her way to criticised the dairy industry's environment
policy, saying it does not go far enough to protect waterways on farms and is demanding that
stock only have controlled access to streams.
This is the interesting aspect of the environmentalist’s claim of poor performance by dairy farmers.
The reality is that all pastoral grazing land sits above some river stream or drain and similarly,
every city, town or residence. Run off or ground drainage from pasture grazed by livestock
is a reality and farm effluent is more than that which originates from a cow yard.
Once again the irrational petulance of the myopic environmentalist shows through. The equity of their
demand for instant imposts to be applied to selected sectors demonstrates the emotional base to
After all it has taken some 200 years for a reasonable standard of public health for urban communities
to be developed for the transfer of refuse and sewerage to points out side the urban boundary.
And even with that period of development the determination to put in place the final solution and
treatment has still to be faced up to by many of urban communities that house the environmental critics
of rural livestock producers.
The dairy industry it is making big efforts to clean up those areas that it is responsible for that
do not meet the markets expectations and does not need an ill informed minister seeing problems where
they do not exist.