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Animal agriculture and climate change

Animal agriculture and climate change

September 21st, 2018

Today SAFE was happy to be a voice for animals at a climate discussion with the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw in Christchurch. This discussion comes ahead of the drafting of the proposed Zero Carbon Bill.

Animal agriculture is very big part of environment discussions as methane from livestock contributes significantly to the heating up of our atmosphere, with around ten million cows on our land it’s easy to see why this is such a big issue.

Emissions are just the tip of the iceberg on problems that farming animals for food has on our environment. Nitrogen and phosphorus from livestock urine and fertiliser, as well as E. Coli from animal faeces, are washing in to and polluting our waterways, which has contributed to around three-quarters of our native freshwater species being under threat or at risk of extinction. This type of damage has a flow on effect to the biodiversity of our freshwater systems, including our estuaries.

New Zealand’s clean, green image is being tarnished by having water so polluted it is un-swimmable and having land covered in so many chemicals it has become a bright green in colour. We have more cows than people and currently export more than we can consume which raises even more concerns about the negative effects that growing animals for food has on our planet.

With the Zero Carbon Bill currently being drafted, we truly hope the devastating impact that growing animals has on our environment is acknowledged in the future bill. The proposed option of ‘net zero emissions by 2050’ is the preferred option, which would reduce net emissions across all greenhouse gases to zero. The bill once agreed on, is set to come in to force in June 2019.

 

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