This is funny:
. . . after 20 years of nuking our taste buds with bread that’s mostly sugar, Ronald McDonald’s special sauce, chicken vindaloo, deep-fried chicken and crisps made from artificially flavoured carpet underlay, most of us could not tell a beautiful piece of prime beef from a Walnut Whip.
This is not:
. . . Right. So one day you’re in the supermarket and in front of you are two legs of lamb. One is from the UK and costs £20 and one is from New Zealand and costs £15. So that’s an easy choice. You buy the one from down under. Lovely.
But it isn’t lovely, because animals farmed in New Zealand and America and China and Brazil and Canada and Australia — with which Boris has just done a much-trumpeted trade deal — do not have anything like the happy lives enjoyed by the animals farmed here. . .
Both come from the pen of Jeremy Clarkson writing in The Times on why the UK should be proud of its animal welfare.
He might be right about that but he’s wrong that New Zealand standards for animal welfare aren’t at least as high as those in the UK.
Ironically that is partly due to the need to meet standards imposed to give access to the UK market when it entered the EU.
But more than anything it is because we’re very good farmers and very good farmers know that animal welfare is paramount.
The Listener has caught up with Clarkson’s criticism and in its editorial (not online) asks: who would we rather have tell the world about New Zealand produce – Jeremy Clarkson of our own government?
Britain’s RSPCA welcomed the trade negotiations, stressing New Zealand alone among the UK’s potential free trade partners has animal welfare standards as good as, and in some cases, better than Britain’s.
But did our Government speak up in our farmers’ defence on animal welfare? Did it point out that this country is also head-and-shoulders the most sustainable producer of dairy and meat – even counting air miles after export to the northern hemisphere? Not a word.
Nor has it ever thanked agriculture for agreeing to arguably disproportionate methane-reduction goals because of the lack of progress on – mostly urban-generated – carbon emissions.
It’s this sense of abandonment and blame that sent farmers with placards to more than 50 towns and cities last week as much as the undeniable burden of new restrictions and compliance obligations they face.
Yes. This government, at least as much as its predecessor in the mid to late 1980s, doesn’t understand farming nor does it champion it. The policies of the 80s were necessary, based on sound economics, and have led to better outcomes. Much current policy is unnecessary, based on political ideology not economics or science and will lead to perverse outcomes.
The government has been damagingly remiss in declining to champion the global competitiveness of this country’s meant and dairy sector. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has had unprecedented global attention, not least for climate advocacy, yet rarely, if ever, has she talked overseas of this economy’s most outstanding sustainability story. As we approach new trade negotiations with the European Union, the United States and Britain, that environmental prowess has never been more relevant. Yet how can we sell our products to other countries’ populations if even our own citizens are under the misapprehension we willfully produce every emissions? . .
Farmers here have been doing a lot to improve environmental practices and doing it for some time. But government policies and dictates give no indication they understand or appreciate that.
Urban New Zealander should be encouraged to take pride in the progress the majority of the farm sector is making. Townies are not subject to a fraction of the individual accountability required from farmers for landfill, emissions and water use. . .
The generally positive response to the Groundswell protests indicates that many urban people do understand and respect what farmers are doing.
It’s a pity the government doesn’t show it has nearly such a positive view and that it is failing to champion farming on the world stage.