Following the herd. Image: Su Leslie 2018
New Zealand’s wealth has long depended on exploiting natural resources; native forests, marine life (including seals and whales), and — once the trees had been felled — grazing animals on the vast tracts of land left behind.
In the early 1980s, there were 22 sheep for every human living in this country. Then dairy (and to a lesser extent beef) farming became more profitable, and now, while there are still six sheep for every person in NZ, humans are outnumbered about 2:1 by cows, around 65 percent of which are dairy cows.
Farmer moving herd of cows, Tuapeka, Otago, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018
Dairy farming in particular is hugely damaging to the natural environment; half of NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions come from this activity, and you can add massive damage to soil and waterways and the impacts of transporting millions of tonnes…
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