This lecture, presented by Town Hall Seattle and sponsored by PCC Community Markets, is titled “Ask Marion: The Politics of Food and Nutrition.” It’s at 7:30 pm Seattle time and 10:30 pm New York time. Get tickets here.
Dairy food politics, Australia. Kangaroo politics too.
This Melbourne newspaper has a front page story about Australia’s efforts to sell milk to China.
The government allowed a Chinese billionaire to buy the biggest dairy farm in Tasmania for a mere $280 million (an Australian dollar is worth 70 cents U.S.). The buyer has promised to process the milk into cheese, butter, spreads, and milk powder for infant formula in local Fonterra facilities in order to maintain current prices.
The worry, according to Independent member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie:
The new owner could decide to process the milk elsewhere, or to have it processed at Fonterra but allocated to an overseas market. There is now uncertainty of supply and price in the market, and understandable fear we’re going to see a repeat of the baby formula episode where so much is going overseas Australians simply can’t buy it here and if they can, it’s at an inflated price.
An editorial in the same issue says:
There is real concern that the new owner of the 17,800-hectare Van Duenen’s Land Company in Tasmania might prefer to supply the Chinese market. A tin of baby formula sells in China for four times its price in Australia, where supermarket shelves have been stripped bare….Last year, another Chinese billionaire bought two major cattle stations in Australia’s far north…Australians need to know how much of the country has been sold off to foreign investors.
I continue to remain baffled about the massive efforts to get dairy products into China. Few traditional diets in China contained dairy foods and lactose intolerance, mild to severe, is widespread in Asian populations.
Dairy farming has replaced sheep farming in New Zealand, with devastating effects on the environment.
This newspaper also describes efforts to cull kangaroos for use in pet food. Kangaroos pose the same traffic-hazard problems that deer do in the U.S.
They are a major hazard [on the roads] and they’re a major concern. We spend a lot of time picking up dead kangaroos.
Although the article didn’t say so, I’m guessing arguments over the culling are similar to those about deer and similarly splits animal lovers from gardeners and traffic officials.