Barnaby Joyce objected with characteristic sophistication to Peter Singer getting the nation’s top honour last week, the Companion of the Order of Australia. Various letters appeared defending Singer on following days, but all talked of his moral philosophy and honours without touching on his environmental insight which was well ahead of its time.
Back in 1990, in the second edition of Animal Liberation, Singer wrote that forests and meat animals compete for land and then outlined the contribution of deforestation to global warming and wildlife loss. He described the imperative for reforestation to avoid the worst of both.
In the two decades since those prescient words, while mainsteam environmentalists were busy with BBQ fundraisers to raise money to campaign on such pressing matters as plastic bags or disposable nappies, the Queenland cattle industry deforested another 7.8 million hectares. Globally, cattle have increased by 130 million to over 1.4 billion weighing more than the human population.
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