Mike Joy

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Dairy cows grazing on a farm near Oxford, New Zealand, last year. Credit Mark Baker/Associated Press

New Zealand is a country of just under five million people and just over 10 million cows. The cows produce large amounts of lucrative beef and dairy — our two biggest export goods by dollar value — and even larger amounts of greenhouse gasses and nitrate pollution, and are therefore much discussed at the national level. Internationally, we try to downplay them. We prefer to tell the world about our hobbits, our pristine rivers, our unspoiled natural environment. These things are all fictional. The cows, alas, are real.

“On arrival at Edoras,” says the advertising copy for a typical New Zealand tourism venture, “enjoy the natural unspoiled beauty and breathe in the fresh mountain air.”…  Seguir leyendo »