Intensive farming practices are causing birds to become extinct
Maybe it’s time to update our idioms, because “salad days” doesn’t cover the ice cream craze that’s now characterizing this season.
Supporters of this shaking snack might also consider changing the catchy titles of their offerings from The Eton Mess One or The Milky Bar One to a few catchy names like The Unsustainable Farming One. , “Goodbye to the Corn Bunting Forever” – or my current favorite, “How long before our current agricultural policies push the rest of the farmed birds over the edge to extinction?”
Admittedly, the latter is quite a mouthful, but surely it would be appropriate to name one of these triple-scoop brews after the industry that plays a crucial role in the devastating decline in formerly abundant bird species, some of which are already absent entirely from vast tracts of land, that were once strongholds.
Ireland’s farmland birds are now the most threatened birds here, according to BirdWatch Ireland, thanks to agricultural intensification, hedgerow destruction, climate change and the devastation of insect populations due to overuse of pesticides. As they say: “This is a complex policy issue, but the heart of the problem is simple – current agricultural policies continue to fail Irish wildlife.”
Because today it’s not just unweaned calves and young bulls that are pushed out of the country. From the yellowhammer to the barn owl to the ancient kestrels, we risk depriving future generations of their iconic sights and sounds.
Despite all the greenwashing propaganda, drastic changes in farming practices over the last few decades have meant that farmlands that were once rich areas for the biodiversity that supported so many birds are now destroying their habitats and driving them to the brink of extinction – as was the fate of the small corn bunting, which depended on low-intensity farming.
It’s not just beasts and birds and bees; We humans will ultimately pay the price for the intensive agricultural practices that kill our wildlife and pollute our lands, rivers and seas.
Just as we are tainted by the moral bankruptcy of an industry backed by a government willing to make an exception to EU sanctions to allow Russian ships to dock here recently to deliver the imported animal feed, that this unsustainable industry depends so heavily on.
The strength of the final result was evident in Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) President Pat McCormack’s response to a question as to whether there was a moral dilemma for Irish farmers to source feed imports from Russia.
“This ethical question goes well beyond the farmer’s pay scale,” he replied.
“That’s an ethical issue for the Government… if they think the various trading protocols will pass at that particular point then Irish farmers will use that feed. It’s up to the government.”
But luckily it’s up to us too, as BirdWatch Ireland believes that a key aspect of preventing our farmland birds from being forgotten is to improve public understanding of what’s going on behind the greenwashing, where “always more individuals and organizations are trying to persuade decision-makers that the environmental policies that govern agriculture should be weakened or even ignored”.
Not even a sixth of a percentage point of available funds from the next CAP budget for agriculture has been allocated to paying farmers to protect and restore farmland for the legendary curlew and other breeding waders, which are the most threatened of our farmland bird species.
BirdWatch Ireland is asking us to donate to their Restoring Farmland Biodiversity Appeal so they can fight on our behalf to ensure our politicians, policy makers and government agencies do not shirk their responsibilities.
They say we need a shift to significantly increase the proportion of existing funding supporting more sustainable agriculture so that we can reverse those declines by rewarding those farmers and landowners who are doing the right thing for nature – and by extension, for the planet Common Good – Do by restoring and protecting agricultural ecosystems.
Who needs to crown this good news with snowflakes?
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/comment/intensive-farming-practices-are-pushing-birds-into-extinction-41789985.html Intensive farming practices are causing birds to become extinct