DairyNZ has stoutly rejected claims made by a Mercury Bay documentary maker about the state of New Zealand’s dairy industry, saying she misrepresented farmers and promoted a vegan lifestyle in a world without meat, cheese or dairy.
In a long interview with The Informer published last week, producer and director, Amy Taylor, said that her documentary, “Milked”, was intended to support farmers’ transition away from dairy to plant-based food production.
However, the documentary also claimed that dairy farming was cruel, was destroying the environment and, in any event, would not exist in 10 to 15 years as there were already ways of producing “real milk” without cows being involved in the process at all.
Last Saturday, Mercury Bay residents and visitors had the opportunity to see and hear for themselves the criticisms being levelled at the dairy industry when Milked was shown at Whitianga’s Twin Cinemas.
A synopsis of the documentary said that it followed a young activist who “goes deep into dairy land where he takes on the giants of New Zealand’s most powerful industry and reveals how the sacred cash-cow industry has been milked dry”. It claimed his journey “exposes not only the sustainability crisis and the dangerous denial of impending agricultural disruption, but also what New Zealand and other countries can do to change their fate”.
Amy said that her husband’s family and her own were dairy farmers, and she knew other dairy
farmers personally. “What I hope to achieve with the film is positive change on every level - for people, the environment and the animals,” she told The Informer.
The dairy industry did not see it quite like that. A statement from Vanessa Feaver, DairyNZ’s senior media team manager, said, “New Zealand dairy farmers will feel misrepresented by [Milked]. It fails to reflect the hard work they do every day to care for animals and the environment, and feed the world.
“This is a film that promotes a vegan lifestyle that doesn’t include milk, cheese or meat. Many Kiwis do want to know the products they buy are safe, nutritious, sustainable and produced as ethically as possible - and New Zealand dairy products tick all of those boxes.
“The sector is recognised globally as one of the best producers of dairy food and are committed to being a sustainable source of natural, high quality protein product.
“Our farmers continue to make positive changes to reduce their environmental footprint and ensure world-leading animal care.”
Pictured is a scene from Milked.