Reduce Our Carbon Footprint with Bobby Calves.
“… the fact that the calves are actually killed so that the milk doesn’t go to them but to us cannot really be right…..” — Kate Bush
I read this article through three ‘Sending dariy calves to beef farms could slash our carbon footprint.’ Three times and I still couldn’t understand how it worked.
Now I know I’m no mathematician nor am I a scientist, but I am usually pretty smart with understanding concepts and logic.
So, if anyone can tell me what I’m missing, I’ll be very grateful.
Here in N.Z., we have a large dairy industry. One of the major issues we have is the slaughter of the bobby calves (male calf which has no monetary value and killed within a few days). The article says that having these calves raised as beef, which a small percentage already is, would mean a dramatic drop in our emission.
A study done concluded that these bobby calves should go to the beef farms and be raised as beef. If both types of farmers worked together, the beef farmer would get the bobby calves and wouldn’t have to breed beef calves as they are currently doing.
Now, this is where my logic doesn’t see that it would reduce the carbon very much at all because we will still have the same number of calves being raised. Sure the beef farmer wouldn’t have as many breeding cattle, and I think this is what they are basing their calculations on.
As I’m writing this, I think I’m nutting it out. The reduced number of breeding cows is where they’re going to save the emissions?
So here’s where my warped logic kicks back in. Surely they’ll have to keep the breeding cattle, at least some of them. Why? Well, will they get enough bobby calves to compensate the number of beef calves they currently have or need?
There may be a year when more female calves are born, which will deplete the supply of male calves.
Then there’s the trend of plant-based ‘dairy’ which is on the increase. Already there are calls for dairy farmers to reduce their herds and diversify.
Won’t the beef farmers still have to keep their breeding cows?
Obviously, the vegan in me wants to see all animal farming gone, which would solve the problem of emissions from animal agriculture. However, I am a realist and understand that this will take time.
As for emissions, N.Z. is in the worst 25% of countries globally. Even with all the huffing and puffing about environmental clean-up the Government has been doing — we’re still getting worse. So I guess any help for our environment is good.
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