Posts tagged: green

Intensive dairy farms in the Mackenzie country

These are happy dairy cows

These are happy dairy cows

Two companies, Southdown Holdings and Five Rivers, have put an application in to start a dairy operation that would see 18,000 dairy cows housed in pens known as free stalls. You can see the application here.

What are these people thinking? And why are the Federated Farmers supporting them?

Apparently there is a plus side to this type of farming: it makes the ‘farmers’ more money; and it’s supposed to be kinder to the environment because the effluent can be easily collected.

On the negative side the animals need greater doses of antibiotics to prevent infection, plus they’ll be fed on grain, not clover or grass. Both of these things have an effect on the milk production. These chemicals leach through into the milk so that you and I end up drinking them, and being fed on grain will alter the taste.

What’s more the grain that they feed these animals is likely to come from palm plantations that are replacing natural rainforest. Any apparent lowering of the carbon footprint is more than offset by the fact that grain will need to be shipped in.

What’s more frightening is that this will irreparably damage our reputation as a clean green producer of sustainable sheep and beef meat, and milk. If a feed lot for dairy cows is allowed then the next logical step is that beef farmers will want to intensively farm their animals and we’ll end up like the US – crap meat, crap milk.

Why is the Federated Farmers supporting this move? They believe that this sort of farming should be encouraged. According to Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson:

This style of closed cycle farming means effluent can, for example, be put into bio-digesters with the resulting biogas used to power the farm offsetting farm animal emissions.  Surplus energy could be sold into the national grid and all the while, nutrient loss is minimised.

This is what the emissions trading scheme is meant to encourage, isn’t it?

What he doesn’t take into consideration is the long term implications for New Zealand as a whole in allowing this type of farming. This isn’t a farm – it’s a factory. And the welfare of these animals is compromised as much, if not more, than the pigs in pens that caused so much controversy several months back.

Green Taxis

Green CabsSince coming back from our sojourn overseas I noticed a new taxi firm has started in Wellington.

Green Cabs runs a fleet of hybrid Toyota Prius cars. They have a very distinctive paint job so would be hard to miss on a cab rank. It’s not a new concept – from a Google search there are companies in London and San Francisco doing the same thing.

But already the new cab off the rank has raised the ire of the Taxi Federation . The Green Cab company claim that they are the first to run hybrid cars. This has prompted Tim Reddish (Executive Director of the Taxi Federation) to hit back.

Green Cabs has a highly visible profile and should appeal to punters who care about the environment. To celebrate the launch of the company they are ‘organising’ the planting of 10,000 trees in Honduras – presumably (I’m such a cynic) because it’s cheap to do so.

Either way, congratulations to a great idea.

Recycling taken to an extreme

Chinese condoms into hairbandsI’m all for recycling and composting but this story that I saw when I was away struck me as a little bit yikky.

Apparently in China there is a company recycling used condoms and making them into hair bands.

Doctors have condemned the practice saying there’s a danger of catching a sexually transmitted disease (like AIDS or genital warts), especially by women and girls who hold the band in their mouth while they gather their hair up to tie it.

Which begs the question “How are they actually recycling them?”

Do men simply deliver the condom (used) and whoever accepts it chops the sac (and contents) then gives it a quick rinse, and, hey presto, we have a hair tie?

The practise is distasteful, but surely the recycling process cleans, disinfects then reconstitutes the rubber.

So girls…don’t put the rubber band in your mouth, unless you wear a dental dam…which I guess (following its use) could be recycled as well.

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