New Zealand’s argument to counter the food miles fallacy is that we convert grass to protein in the most efficient way possible.
Our soils and climate which enable us to grow good pasture and leave stock outside all year rounds give us a natural advantage over farmers in other countries where pastoral farming isn’t possible.
It’s less expensive and has less impact on the environment to let animals graze pastures than to harvest feed and take it to the stock.
Why then would anyone want to copy the more expensive methods farmers in other countries have to use by putting cows inside, if only for part of the year?
No doubt the people applying for resource consent for stabling dairy cattle for eight months of the year have done their sums and are confident the business case is sound.
The environmental impacts will be addressed through the resource consent process and any animal welfare issues will have to be settled before the projects can proceed.
But I’m concerned about the impact this will have on our credibility.
Either we make the most of our natural advantage and use that to promote our pasture raised produce or we start copying less efficient producers overseas.
We can’t have it both ways.