Working with the environment
Wyke Farms’ study on its farms is good news – the British cheese maker’s results show its carbon footprint (1.12 kgCO₂(e)/kgFPCM) is lower than the UK average (1.55kg), and significantly lower than the world average (2.5kg). British farming does better than most other systems on that scale, and Wyke Farms has long been a champion of the renewable energy, water recovery and green gas generation, as well as providing natural fertilisers for local farms. As a family business, it continually builds for the next generation as well.
I spent the weekend putting in trees in a local park with some fellow volunteers, and a young woman who was a vegan. She was very nice, and she got all excited when she saw the worms under where we were digging in the meadow.
Here’s the thing – I understand people are confused and upset about the way the world works, and there are places where animal husbandry standards are not up to scratch. However, I’m not sure trolling farmers online, or people in an industry feeding people good food, is a way forward.
Rather than working with the people who supply the food chain, vegans online often just seem to shout and threaten (although this one dug quietly, helped lug some heavy things around and laughed at all our jokes – key). Meanwhile, the dairy industry is working so very hard to keep supply chains running, producing new products and making sure that the animals are happy, and the carbon footprint is as small as possible.
I did say to her, one does not know what the person on the other end of the keyboard is thinking when they type – they troll, and then go off to have their oat milk latte and nobody in their real lives is the wiser, except the victims of their attacks, and whoever else is on social media. In a way, the trolling is less about the victim, and more about the person’s state of mind when at the keyboard.
As one farmer put it, I try to engage, but also, I block people. I try not to take it personally myself. However, a lot of dairy products makers have to use the internet for e-commerce and to sell their products, and it’s sad when they get grief on places like Instagram and Facebook.
Finally, one friend of ours who often looks at issues from an angle you wouldn’t think of, said this: so, you remove the cows from the world and their methane. Now, I am eating a lot more vegetables and greens, and I am producing more methane. What do you do with me, then? How do you sort out the 7.9 billion people farting and their emissions? We humans are also part of the ecosystem, and the most invasive and problematic species of them all, really.
- Suzanne Christiansen, editor, Dairy Industries International.
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