New Zealand’s red meat sector is making it easier for Kiwis to find the facts about the production and consumption of beef and lamb.
The www.makingmeatbetter.nz website, developed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association, brings together independently-verified facts and insights about beef and lamb from a health, nutrition and environmental perspective.
“New Zealand’s farming methods are different and more sustainable,” says Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
“However, a lot of what people hear about red meat production is based on international research and overseas farming systems.
“It’s important New Zealanders have access to the facts about how we produce meat in this country and what that means for their health and the health of our environment.”
New Zealand farming is a model for how to produce healthy red meat in a sustainable way, says Mr McIvor.
“The way we farm is better for animals, better for you, better for the planet and better for communities."
Sheep and beef farmers share the concerns of many of their customers about issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and water quality, he says.
“New Zealand red meat production already has some great environmental stories to tell but our farmers recognise it’s a lifetime journey.
“The New Zealand sheep and beef sector has a goal of net carbon neutrality by 2050 and is already a long way towards achieving this.
“Greenhouse gas emissions from sheep and beef farming have decreased by 30 percent in absolute terms since 1990, while production levels have remained stable – and during that time the sector more than doubled its export receipts. New Zealand is also very efficient compared to other countries. The carbon footprint of sheep and beef production is around half the average figure globally.
“Approximately 93 percent of land used for sheep and beef production in New Zealand is not suitable for growing food crops because it is rolling or steep hills and almost one quarter of New Zealand’s total native vegetation occurs on sheep and beef farmland.
“With plenty of natural rainfall in New Zealand, the vast majority of water used in livestock production comes from the sky as opposed to being extracted from surface or ground water sources.”
Fiona Windle, a registered nutritionist at Beef + Lamb New Zealand, said consumers are also looking for reliable sources of information about diet and health.
“Like everyone, we hear a lot of polarising and confusing views out there about what’s good for us. The reality is grass-fed red meat, like we produce in New Zealand, plays an important part in a healthy and balanced diet. Lean red meat can be described as nature’s power pack – delivering a lot of nutrition, in a moderate serving.
“Naturally low in sodium, red meat provides high quality protein with all the essential amino acids along with bioavailable iron, zinc and B vitamins that play a part in growth and development of children, supporting immunity and fighting fatigue.”
Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association, says the red meat sector supports wider rural communities including schools, local businesses and community facilities.
“Our sector accounts for nearly five percent of total employment in New Zealand – that’s over 92,000 people, on-farm and in processing and support services.”
“The sector contributes income of $3,300 per year to every household in New Zealand and generates $12 billion in income per year for New Zealand. It’s New Zealand’s second largest merchandise exporter and accounts for just over 16 percent of New Zealand’s total exports.”
For media enquiries, please contact B+LNZ’s Senior Communications Advisor Katie Jans on 027 838 6353.