Date: 03 February 2021
Author: The Vegan Society Aotearoa

The draft report from the Climate Change Commission states that we are not on target to meeting our global agreements for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. It suggests actions that need to take place to put us back on track, with reducing stock numbers being an important part. It is time to address the elephant in the room, which in this case is our dairy herd numbers. New Zealand has to move with the times and continue to be a world leader in agriculture, ensuring the future viability of the country’s economy.

Over the last year it has become increasingly clear that NZ is falling short of its commitment to the Paris Agreement and not only has NZ not reduced its emissions, we are one of the few countries whose emissions have increased. This is simply not acceptable on the global stage and although our global contribution is small, we have one of the highest per capita emissions in the world. The vast majority of which are due to agriculture. This is no surprise as we have omitted agricultural emissions from the Emissions Trading Scheme and effectively ignored them. The Climate Change Commission is here to put us right,

The Vegan Society applauds the fact that the report recommends a 15% reduction in animal stock numbers. New Zealand cannot continue to ignore biogenic methane, which is produced by our ruminant livestock. There are many fancy solutions to this such as genetically engineered grass, genetically engineered animals and even masks for the animals to sequester their burps! The simplest and quickest solution is to reduce herd numbers. With the world appetite for plant-based products increasing every year, the time of animal production is coming to an end, with many economists predicting the end of animal agriculture by 2030.

It is very inefficient to produce animals to eat, growing huge quantities of grass, allowing their waste products to enter the soil and the atmosphere. They require huge resources in terms of land and water, resources that are coming increasingly under pressure globally, and which are causing massive loss of biodiversity, due to loss of habitat. New Zealand’s biodiversity loss is acute, with many native species under huge pressure. Returning land to native forests would help to stem this loss.

Our government needs to support farmers so they can transition towards growing more plants. Not all land is suitable for crop growing, this land should be reforested with natives. Land that is suitable for growing edibles should be put to such uses where possible. Our farmers need support to make the right choices, thus a number of organisations are endorsing a petition calling for that support. New Zealand can survive climate change by adopting good climate practices as soon as possible. The solutions to restore balance to our country are already here, they just need to be implemented.

Sign the petition to support farmers to diversify for our sustainability https://our.actionstation.org.nz/p/diversify