Letter: Check the facts before suggesting a dairy instead of carbon tax

Kelowna - Stiewe goes on to assert that dairy consumption is linked to cancer.

To the editor:

Karen Stiewe’s letter “Tax dairy industry instead of a carbon tax” (Capital News, March 30) purports to share the perils of the dairy industry while neglecting to present recent scientific facts.

Citing a UNPPCC climate change report, Stiewe states that the global dairy industry contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than all modes of transportation.

READ MORE: Letter: Tax dairy industry instead of a carbon tax

The report’s author has since retracted that claim, as the methods used to evaluate livestock—all farm animals, not just dairy—were different than those applied to the transportation sector.

In terms of more local impacts, Canada’s National Inventory report reveals Canadian dairy production is responsible for about one per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions, compared to other sectors, such as road transportation (20.3 per cent), energy used in homes (5.5 per cent), production of electricity and heat (11.9 per cent) or manufacturing (6 per cent).

Stiewe goes on to assert that dairy consumption is linked to cancer.

According to a 2018 report by The World Cancer Research Fund, there is strong evidence that dairy products reduce the risk of colon cancer and premenopausal breast cancer.

The same report found no strong evidence that dairy products increase the risk of prostate cancer.

As for the notion that dairy consumption is declining—a look at Government of Canada statistics provides clarification.

The marketing is expanding, not detracting. Demand for fluid milk has shifted, as consumption patterns change over time.

However, demand is steadily growing for other dairy products. In 2017, Canadians consumed more cheese, butter and yogurt than in 1998.

Canadian dairy farms produce local, nutritious food for their communities.

Stiewe’s factually inaccurate portrayal of the Canadian dairy industry is all too common.

In an age of polarized beliefs, science and fact trump rhetoric every time.

Christine Terpsma

Communications Manager, BC Dairy Association

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