Sunday, 6 November 2016

Ethical dilemmas; choosing the lesser evil

Every now and then I am faced with a tough choice due to my plastic avoidance, and sometimes it is necessary to choose a product that has plastic wrapping or packaging that can't be recycled because there's another cause I feel strongly about and want to support.
For example, buying fairtrade or local products, or boycotting products because of the manner of their manufacture.

Recently I have started to buy butter that isn't in recyclable wrapping. I love butter, and it is easy to buy in compostable packaging because most blocks are wrapped in paper. However, as a conscious consumer I am moving more and more away from supporting New Zealand's dairy industry. This industry is our our single biggest polluter. The cows release large amounts of methane, which is a greenhouse gas, and has more effect on the atmosphere than the same amount of carbon. The run off from the cows' waste pollutes waterways. 60% of New Zealand's waterways are officially no longer safe to swim in, yet the industry continues to grow, and is encouraged to grow by our current government.

However, my recent switch to the below product is not just a result of my concern about pollution; it's my concern about dairying practices. The reason our farms can produce so much milk is by producing babies (it is breast milk after all). Most farms will have their cows constantly either pregnant or producing milk with no or little rest period, and the calves are often removed from their mothers within two days (what emotional toll does that take on both creatures?). Furthermore, there has been great controversy around the way 'bobby' or boy calves are treated. They are considered to have little value, and can be treated incredibly badly during their short lives (they tend to be the 'veal' in the supermarket).
Organic Times' farms ensure all calves are
rehomed. Plus, being organic, their farming
practices are less intensive than standard
farms and therefore have less environmental
impact BUT the wrapping is plastic lined tinfoil.