Please don’t blame our cows for climate change
We’ve seen a lot online recently about how cows are responsible for climate change. Yes, cows create methane, but we believe that blaming a single animal species isn’t helpful and it ignores all the other industries are that have far more negative impacts on the environment. (Let’s not even start on the emissions from transport – buying locally produced food not only supports local farmers but reduces the need for transport and food miles.)
We thought we should clear up a few things and get the facts straight. Our cows never have soya. Soya production is massively damaging fragile ecosystems on the other side of the world through deforestation. According to WWF UK ‘an area almost the size of Wales is required every year to produce soy that feeds livestock’. The cows on Kingsclere Estates are fed grass and hay (and our herbal leys). We do not need to supplement their feed with soy. Farming animals in smaller numbers is more sustainable and means that we do not run out of natural, local food for them as we move them from field to field as needed. Our farm isn’t like the highly intensive farming systems that are more common in the states and Australia so its unfair to compare them.
Our chickens need protein which they get most of from foraging and digging up insects. The feed the chickens receive is, of course, organic and sustainably grown. Any soya they are supplemented with is sustainably farmed organic soy from Europe or China (not from the amazon).
So, whilst we’d never claim to be perfect (we’re aiming at doing the best we can do rather than an arbitrary goal), we have to acknowledge that all activities and lifestyles will have an impact on the environment. Finding the least damaging activities is a minefield and can us all a lot of anxiety if we let it. Whilst the dairy industry isn’t ideal, we believe that buying locally sourced organic milk and eggs from our partners is a good way to minimise those impacts and support small local businesses.