Between free trade agreements and last week’s case of cow bashing, many issues are facing the reputation and productivity of the dairy industry in New Zealand.
Dairy Companies of New Zealand (DCANZ) executive director Kimberly Crewther joined Rural Exchange to discuss industry’s focus and opinion on key issues facing the sector this week.
Methane in climate change policy
On Friday, Fonterra said New Zealand’s climate change policy shouldn’t aim to reduce methane emissions to zero. Fonterra proposed that the Zero Carbon Bill opt for the recommended split gas target approach, where the Bill would see carbon and methane treated differently in its targets.
Ms Crewther told RadioLIVE that methane should be treated differently in policy because it’s half-life in the atmosphere is significantly lower than that of carbon.
“It’s appropriate to treat them differently because they are not comparable,” she said.
“Carbon needs to go to zero, methane doesn’t need to go to zero.”
Free Trade Agreement with European Union
All eyes are on the Free Trade Agreement negotiations currently undergoing with the European Union, which could see a significant affect to New Zealand dairy exports.
Ms Crewther told RadioLIVE that there shouldn’t be any roadblocks in “fully liberalising the trade” between NZ and Europe.
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She explained that the EU tends to negotiate protections for particular regional-indicative names of products. However, New Zealand will be urging the EU to reconsider names that have become generic across the global, like parmesan or feta.
“There would be a significant impact if the use of those names was monopolised.”
Northland farmer violently beating cows
Last week, a covert operation captured a Northland farmer violently beating cows in a milking shed. The hidden cameras caught the sharemilker hitting his dairy herd with a steel pipe in their legs and head.
Ms Crewther told RadioLIVE said the mistreatment of animals is “unacceptable” in the dairy industry.
When host Richard Loe suggests that treating animals as such is likely to be stemming from some deeper issues, Ms Crewther wholeheartedly agrees.
“Often there are other stresses or mental health issues that can manifest in different ways and can result in a compromise in animal welfare.”
Watch the full interview with Kimberly Crewther above.