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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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VIDEO: ‘Drink milk and eat beef to save the planet’ – young farmer

A farmer that runs a 100-strong Holstein Fresian herd believes that “cows are part of the climate change solution; not the problem”.

Drew Wilson, South Ayrshire, Scotland, has taken to YouTube to vent his frustration in light of recent coverage regarding emissions reductions in agriculture.

“I heard on the news that cows are ruining the planet. I thought I better rush out here and, oh hang on, these cows don’t look as if they are doing much harm.”

“These cows don’t look like they are ruining the planet. In fact, I think these cows are doing a lot of good.”

Climate change solution 

The young farmer provided several examples to highlight cattle’s roles in food production and employment creation.

“I will tell you what these cows are doing. These cows are producing milk. Milk is used to make butter, cheese, yoghurts and ice cream.”

“At the end of their lives, they provide beef and leather, among a number of different products. Also, they provide employment, which, in turn, helps run our economies.”

He pointed out that cattle provide employment to vets, hauliers and engineering businesses, for example.

“They also provide us with funding to look after the environment, hedgerows, trees ect.”

“They are providing a landscape, which attracts tourists to the UK,” he added.

In the video, he pointed to one of the animals and said: “this one here is producing muck, dung, slurry, whatever you like to call it”.

“We use this to fertilise fields to grow the crop that these cows eat. This allows the field to photosynthesise and lock carbon down into the soil.”

“The only reason people in the world can do anything else is because these cows are here to provide.”

“If it weren’t for these cows, you would be too busy to try to forage for food.”

Farmer bashing 

“I am not into this ‘thank a farmer’ thing, but what I really do not like is farmer bashing. Do whatever you want – become vegan, for example – but please make informed choices.”

He said that agriculture in the UK is “so different” to anywhere else in the world. He argued that dairy farming in Scotland is among the most sustainable in the world.

“We are not perfect, by no means; we have room to improve. Everyone does.”

“The fact remains that over the last fifty years, the global population has doubled and cow numbers are less than they were then.”

“Work that out for yourself. Drink milk and eat beef to save the planet,” he concluded.

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