Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has rebuffed media reports claiming that the Queensland livestock industry is clearing land in an unsustainable manner.
MLA Managing Director Jason Strong said “livestock producers were working hard to manage their land sustainably for the next generation and to leave the environment in a better place than they found it”, adding that the industry is meeting “international obligations and national and state legislation and regulations.”
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reported this week that “Queensland’s record breaking and out of control land clearing continues as global efforts to address climate change and deforestation gain momentum.”
The report also highlighted Queensland legislation that fails to adequately define native vegetation and federal environmental laws that do not provide a clear process for land clearing assessments
“Our industry abides by the internationally recognised definition of deforestation that takes into account both deforestation and regrowth and we have always been open to working with WWF to come to an agreed definition of deforestation,” Strong said.
MLA has a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, and says it is “enthusiastic about being part of the solution for sustainable production and environmental stewardship”.
Stuart Blanch of WWF Australia said “ongoing clearing by a small number of (beef) producers tarnishes the image of the whole industry” and that “hundreds of thousands of hectares of mature forest and woodland continue to be bulldozed. It jeopardises access to important international markets where deforestation is increasingly being removed from supply chains.”
“Simplistic criticism and exaggeration in the media this week are unhelpful and don’t recognise the incredibly positive sustainability story of the industry,” Strong said.
The environmental impacts of deforestation are a key reason manufacturers and consumers are turning to plant-based protein sources. As previously reported in Future Alternative, the emissions from the livestock industry are due largely to land clearing for the purposes of grazing and feed production, which accounts for over 27 percent of the earth’s land mass. By comparison human settlements occupy just one percent.