Too many risks to support dairy

If you read, or listen to the soothing, disingenuous words of the HDF spin doctors, all this folderol of protest to their benevolent creation of a “zero discharge, grass-fed” ecologically sustainable, zero-impact dairy is “irrational hysteria” by a radicalized minority of anti-farm, anti-agriculture, not-in-my-backyard, misguided dupes. Not so.

Simon says: spin, spin, spin. Science and sense refute their preposterous claim of zero discharge. Soil absorption is rated at 2 percent (NCRS study) with a high, or very high run-off predictability. The ratio of acreage per cow, even at start-up population in rotating pens, is both insufficient to adequately sustain the “grass-fed” diet; or to generate sufficient regrowth of pasturage in the 18-day intervals allowed between grazing.

In Washington state dairies, the common ratio is one and a half acres per cow. The HDF ratio of multiple cows per acre, along with the required one-third “supplemental” feed fits the definition of a feed-lot operation. The feds have classified it as an CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation).

While Kikuyu grass fails to perform well due to the nutrient-poor soil absent the applications of aerosolized nitraterich manure, once spread airborne to more fertile adjacent areas, it will swiftly spread by wind and contact transfer, crowd out more desirable species, and act like the invasive species it truly is.

How about the 28 percent grain (corn based) supplemental feed they plan to import? Where is it sourced? What residuals, trace elements, GMOs, pesticides, bacterial colonies, molds or spores may be introduced? Does not one-third of the diet being imported feed compromise the claim of grass fed?

Can you imagine the impact of 2,000 pounds, of fresh manure, spread daily over a 10,000-foot houselot? Or five times the equivalent raw sewage produced by the total population of our island being deposited every day, on one 534-acre location? Add the ammonia laden urine creating ammonium and other toxic gases when interacting with the atmosphere, the accompanying resultant chemical reactions impacting the soil, vegetation and air quality, drifting into the adjacent populated resort community, is this not pollution? It can sear your lungs. Resultant edema can kill you.

This is not farming. This is not sustainable agriculture. This is industrialized forced factory production — as egregious as the industrialized pig and chicken and dairy factories in North America. Will HDF’s enterprise trump environmental destruction and deterioration of public heath? People squawk, but money talks?

I fail to comprehend if, as HDF claims, this milk they will produce is for local (Hawaii) consumption, why then are they intent upon incurring the additional cost of having it processed and certified to international trade standards necessary for marketing to other countries, say, like Japan?

Could this be part of an aggressive marketing campaign to fill a need generated by the Fukushima disaster affecting their local milk production? Our proximity puts us at an advantage over Mainland producers.

Projections for remedial effects to achieve environmental recovery sufficient to sustain resumption of traditional agricultural industries, including dairies, are in the range of 50 years or more. Japan is now necessarily at the cutting edge of developing new technologies and strategies to compensate for the needs of their populations in the transition. Is HDF planning to fill the gap at the expense of our environment? Biting fly infestations?

Coca-Cola Corporation reportedly is entering the milk distribution market in Hawaii, challenging MeadowGold’s already shrinking share. Their product, with significantly lower Mainland production costs, minus the added expense of certification to international market standards, would undercut any profit from milk produced by HDF distributed locally. If Japan (and international distribution) is the intended consumer market, then the plan becomes economically feasible, and profitable, at the expense of our environment and quality of life.

Haven’t we been hoodwinked enough? The relentless exploitation of our local resources for the benefit of global conglomerates, consortiums, and corporate raiders continue to consume our resources excreting sewage and waste (garbage), in their wake for us to mitigate.

Humane treatment of animals raised for food production is not only a moral imperative but a public health issue. Forcing overcrowding in uncovered manure laden pens fosters an environment of stress and disease. Insufficient intervals between pregnancies and early separation from calves induces stress and anxiety, impacting health.

Early termination of and the planned destruction of male fetuses for increased productivity is an abomination. Do not support this. Just say no.

•••

Kalanikumai ‘O Na Ali’i Hanohano is a resident of Koloa.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.