he article calls for public policy initiatives to address animal welfare and environmental concerns associated with dairy farming in Australia. With reference to economic concepts covered in this course, explain why the government might want to intervene

This paper concentrates on the primary theme of he article calls for public policy initiatives to address animal welfare and environmental concerns associated with dairy farming in Australia. With reference to economic concepts covered in this course, explain why the government might want to intervene in which you have to explain and evaluate its intricate aspects in detail. In addition to this, this paper has been reviewed and purchased by most of the students hence; it has been rated 4.8 points on the scale of 5 points. Besides, the price of this paper starts from £ 40. For more details and full access to the paper, please refer to the site.

Prices & Markets


Prices & Markets

Melbourne, Semester 2, 2016

ECON1020 ASSIGNMENT 2; Climate change Animal welfare Greenhouse gases Cows Dairy farmers are being ‘milked dry’, but let’s remember the real cost of milk







Value: 35% of total course assessment.


Word limit: 1300 words, across all questions.


Assignment due date:  5 pm, 14th September 2016. Please be aware of RMIT’s penalties for late submission, as they will apply to you.


Submission: This assignment must be submitted electronically via Blackboard. As it is RMIT policy that all assignments be submitted electronically, hard copies or emailed copies will not be accepted.


When submitting, please make sure you attach and upload your assignment as one file preferable  in  .pdf  format.  You  can  also  submit  in  .doc  or  .docx,  but  please  do  not use .pages. Please do not paste as text or upload a folder or zipped file.


IMPORTANT: On the Blackboard system, you can only upload and submit the assignment once. So, make sure you read and understand the student guide on How to submit your assignment on Blackboard before you submit.


Marking: Marks will be awarded based on how well you: (a) understand the economic theories and concepts from the lectures; (b) apply these to the question(s); (c) conduct systematic economic analysis using these theories and concepts (this includes the use of appropriate diagrams); and (d) draw conclusions, if appropriate. Note that general layman discussions do not constitute sufficient economic analysis.


Presentation: Assignments should be typed, using 10 – 12 sized font and 1.5 – 2 line spacing. Graphs and diagrams can be hand drawn and scanned in, but must be clearly drawn and clearly labelled.





Read the article Dairy farmers are being ‘milked dry’, but let’s remember the real cost of milk (The Conversation, 25/05/16) attached, about the animal welfare and environmental concerns associated with dairy farming in Australia.


Then use economic analysis to answer the following questions. In your answers, ensure that you use relevant economic theories, concepts and/or diagrams covered in this course. Note that general layman or journalistic discussions do not constitute sufficient economic analysis.


Question 1


The article calls for public policy initiatives to address animal welfare and environmental concerns associated with dairy farming in Australia. With reference to economic concepts covered in this course, explain why the government might want to intervene in the dairy market.

(10 marks)


Question 2


A tax on dairy products is one public policy initiative that the government might consider. Perform appropriate economic analysis to explain how such a tax could be used to address the animal welfare and environmental concerns raised in the article. Discuss the pros and cons of using such a tax as a policy initiative.

(10 marks)


Question 3


What other public policy initiatives can the government employ to address these concerns? Discuss the pros and cons of these.

(10 marks)


Question 4


What  can  we  as  private  individuals  do  to  address  these  concerns  in  the  absence  of government intervention? Are such private solutions likely to be effective?

(5 marks)





Dairy farmers are being ‘milked dry’, but let us remember the real cost of milk


May 25, 2016  6.11am AEST

The dairy industry faces a number of welfare and  environmental issues. Cow  image from www.shutterstock.com



Gonzalo N Villanueva

PhD Candidate, School of Historical and  Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne



The Conversations partners



View partners of The Conversation



The Australian dairy farming industry is in a state of crisis. Cheap dairy products and fluctuations in both  the domestic and  global markets have  taken  a financial toll on farmers. Consumers have  rallied to help struggling dairy producers.


But this is only half the problem. The true cost of dairy is also paid by dairy cows and  the environment.


Welfare problems


Despite the idyllic image of outdoor farming, several industry practices negatively affect  dairy cows. To meet  production demands, dairy cows are subject to a continuous cycle of impregnation, induced calving and  milking.


Tail-docking and  horn removal are routinely performed without pain relief. Lameness is another major animal welfare problem, often the result of environmental pressures, such as tracks, herd  size and  handling. The average lifespan of a dairy cow is six to seven years, whereas generally cows can  live for 20 to 25 years.


One of the most controversial issues is young  “bobby” calves. A bobby calf is a newborn calf, less than  30 days old, who has been purposely separated from their mother. Immediately after separation, cow and  calf call out and  search for each other.


Most bobby calves are slaughtered within the first week  of their life. Handling and  transport pose added problems for young  calves who have  not developed herding behaviours, are vulnerable to stress, and  are forced to go without their mother’s milk. Each  year, 450,000 bobby calves are slaughtered.


Advocacy groups frequently uncover the routine abuse of bobby calves in Australian abattoirs and  challenge the dairy industry to do something about it.


Yet aside from the wider ethical questions over the use and  exploitation of animals, farmers are not legally doing anything wrong.  This is because the treatment of animals operates in a legal context where  animals are considered absolute property.


What’s more,  farm animals are exempt from the provisions of anti-cruelty legislation. Codes of practice are practically useless, because they promote low welfare standards and  are unenforceable.


The environmental impact


As well as systematic welfare problems, livestock farming is, both  directly and  indirectly, one of the most ecologically harmful human activities. The Australian livestock sector is worth A$17 billion and  dairy cattle farming is a A$4.2 billion industry.


In Australia, livestock farming accounts for 10%  to 16%  of greenhouse gas emissions, with dairy farms contributing 19%  of this, or 3% of total emissions. Methane emissions, from digestion and  manure, and  nitrous oxide from livestock are significant contributors. Globally, the livestock sector is responsible for more  greenhouse gases than  the world’s transport.


Livestock production accounts for 70%  of all agricultural land, including the land used to grow crops to feed  these animals. Animal agriculture is a key factor  in land degradation, deforestation, water  stress, pollution, and  loss of biodiversity.


Livestock farming will also be affected by climate change, particularly changes in temperature and  water.  The quantity and  quality of pasture and  forage  crops will also be affected. Diseases may increase due  to fluctuating weather and  climate.


Emissions can be reduced


Just as the energy sector is attempting to transition to low-carbon energy sources to tackle climate change, the agricultural sector needs to transition to an ethical and sustainable alternative.


From the current crisis, there  are several opportunities for farmers to seize. Large transitions are possible in land use, production, output and  profitability.


Places such as Gippsland in Victoria, which currently produces 19%  of Australia’s dairy, have the opportunity for agricultural development based on apples and  brassicas, such as

broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip and  mustard. Some of these crops are already popular in the region. As a result of climate change and  increasing temperatures, some areas will be more  suitable than  others.


While still in the stages of research, perennial grain crops – which store more  carbon, maintain better soil and  water  quality, and  manage nutrients better than  annuals – have  the potential to contribute to sustainable agriculture. New land uses could also include carbon plantings, biofuels and  bioenergy crops. Investing into further research for alternatives to livestock farming is needed.


Some have  argued that livestock emissions can  be technically mitigated by modifying animal feed,  better managing pastures, carbon sequestration and  manure storage.


Welfare issues remain


But technical mitigation does not address the endemic animal welfare problems in the livestock industry.


Consumer demand is one of the most powerful strategies to combat animal welfare and environmental problems. Research shows that we must reduce food waste and  losses in the supply chain and  change our diets toward less resource-intensive diets, such as a plant- based diets. Doing so would cut emissions by two-thirds and  save lives. It’s possible to eliminate animal suffering and  reduce carbon emissions by reducing and  replacing livestock production and  consumption.


Alternatives to dairy milk include soy and  almond milk. Soy milk is nutritionally comparable to dairy milk and  has a significantly smaller environmental footprint.


Policy initiatives also need to address these issues. The Food  and  Agriculture Organization’s Livestock’s Long Shadow report  recommends a policy approach that correctly prices natural resources to reflect  the full environmental costs and  to end  damaging subsidies. In the interim, higher taxes on meat  and  other  livestock products will be necessary to improve public health and  combat climate change.


Denmark, for instance, is considering proposals raise the tax on meat, after its ethics council concluded that “climate change is an ethical problem”.


Governments everywhere need to have  a transitional plan for livestock producers and workers – one that helps to cultivate the ethical and  sustainable agricultural endeavours of the future.



Climate change Animal welfare Greenhouse gases Cows



Greenhouse Gas milk prices

Milk Crisis


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