Opinion: The battle for our grasslands and livestock

By Viv Forbes, Albrecht Glatzle and others, 01/11/2016


Grasslands and arable land cover just 10pc of Earth’s surface but (with the oceans) they produce all of our food and fibre.

But the productivity and health of our grasslands, farms and livestock are under threat from global warming alarmists and green preservationists.

We are afflicted by climate crazies and methane madness. It is poor public policy that condones restrictions on grazing operations, or taxes on grazing animals, based on disputed theories that claim that bodily emissions from farm animals will cause dangerous global warming.

New Zealand was the first cattle country to propose a “livestock fart tax”.

Four hundred farmers then drove 20 tractors to the Parliament in Wellington waving placards and banners saying “STOP THE FART TAX”. The proposal was laughed out of Parliament. But the war on farmers and livestock continues.


Image: www.clexit.net

Ruminants such as sheep, cattle and goats cannot make long-term additions to the gases in the atmosphere – they just recycle atmospheric carbon and nitrogen nutrients in a cycle-of-life that has operated for millennia.

Grazing ruminant animals with their emission products have always been part of healthy grasslands. Only when large numbers of animals are fed artificially and confined on the one patch of land do pollution problems appear.

Many otherwise genuine environmentalists are assisting the destruction of grasslands with their native pastures and endangered grass birds. Blinded by their love for the trees, they neglect the grasses, legumes, herbs and livestock that provide their food. In Australia they pass laws to protect weedy eucalypts invading the grasslands but ignore the valuable and declining Mitchell grass that once dominated Australia’s treeless plains.

Grasslands are also under threat from cultivation for biofuel crops, from subsidised carbon credit forests and from the remorseless encroachment of fire-prone government reserves and pest havens.

Trying to control atmospheric carbon-bearing gases with taxes is futile and anti-life. Even if carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere doubled, or more, the climate effect if any, is probably beneficial (warmer at night and near the poles and with more moisture in the atmosphere). More importantly, all life on Earth already benefits from the additional CO2 plant nutrient in the atmosphere, and would benefit even more were CO2 levels to double.

Nitrogen is the most abundant natural gas in the atmosphere, inhaled in every breath and an essential component of all protein. Grazing livestock merely recycle a few compounds of nitrogen, all of which either return to the atmosphere or provide valuable nitrogen fertilisers for the plants they graze on.

We also have the modern methane madness. Mobs of grazing ruminants have been roaming the grasslands since cave-man days. Methanehas also been seeping from marshes, bubbling out of oceans, leaking from coal seams and oil seeps and being released in huge quantities from volcanoes. So what more can a few domestic cows and sheep do to affect this? Methane from domestic ruminants is a non-problem.

It is a foolish and costly fantasy to believe that Earth’s climate can be controlled by passing laws, imposing taxes, attempting to manipulate the bodily emissions of farm animals or trying to prevent farmers from clearing woody weeds invading their pastures.

The Clexit (ClimateExit) Coalition, comprising over 190 representatives from 26 countries, has formed the Clexit Grassland Protection Group with nine representatives from five big grazing countries.

This is an important problem.

Source: The Clexit Grassland Protection Group. The Group is represented and supported by: Viv & Judy Forbes, Sheep and cattle breeders, Qld, Australia; Albrecht & Eva-Maria Glatzle, Cattle graziers, Paraguay, South America; Howard Crozier, Former Exec Councillor NSW Farmers Assoc; Robin Grieve, Chairman, Pastoral Farming Climate Research, New Zealand, http://www.farmcarbon.co.nz/; Neil & Esther Henderson, Sheep and cattle farmers, New Zealand; Jim and Nancy Lents, Anxiety Herefords, Oklahoma, USA; Don Nicolson, Former President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand; Pownall Family,  Fifth generations graziers on Carfax Cattle Co, Australia; Petra Scholtz, Wildlife breeder, South Africa.

To view the full report click here: http://clexit.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/grasslands.pdf



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  1. deb newell, 03/11/2016

    Since 2001 I have been studying all the above. The key fact that none of the so called environmentalists consider is that, as the article above points out, methane from its many terrestrial and aquatic sources and grazing animals have been part of the natural cycle of life on Earth. For grasslands grazing animals are essential to maintain biodiversity of both fauna and flora and increase to plant vigour. They are also a form of seed spreader and slow release fertilisation at levels sensitive to the particular biome. The concept that trees are better carbon sinks does not account for mapping the massive green surface interfaces of the leaves of grasses, sedges, forbs, small shrubs and understory plants that all take in CO2 and deliver it for their own services and sink the rest into the soil around their roots that can, in the case of Dicantheum serriceum (Qld Blue Grass), be 2-3m deep. They call it media outrage and because trees are more obvious they are considered, by the ignorant, to be more important. Trees have celebrity status while ground covers and their huge environmental services (erosion, cooling, carbon sinking, habitat and refugia nitrogen cycling…) are totally ignored by a brainwashed and not very bright media cohort. Then we have methane. Yes, it has always been a part of life on Earth. As such there has to be a natural loop for methane – it has to be dinner for something. Every living thing is dinner for some other thing. For methane it is little karyotic cell organisms found in soil called methanotrophs. They breakfast , lunch and dine on methane. They are mainly found in the top 30cms of soil. They convert methane, via ingestion/oxidation, back to carbon and oxygen and water. They are essential to life as we know it. BUT they hate too much nitrogen. Synthetic fertilisers with their ad hoc applications and concentrations kill methanotrophs and break the methane recycling system. Guess what uses synthetic NKP fertilisers? The cereal and horticultural crops that are forced onto erstwhile complex and diverse grasslands. This makes those that eat cereal based/ plant diets the great destroyers and their food plants the creators of methane imbalance (and also nitrous oxide). I call vegans Habitat Destroyers amongst other names.

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