Ethics in food production

seeing more light shed on unethical companies and also those who are doing the right thing. organic farmers deserve to be the demi gods of our time due to the love and respect they show to the earth and its inhabitants.

organic dairies that have been stabbed in the back by industry bodies (funded by corporations) to shut down small ethical producers - ie Elgaar Farm in Tasmania. I suspect that Fonterra have made sure the minister gets paid political donations to shut down ethical and small producers so they can have the entire pie. its a totally horrible situation that organic farmers are being squeezed out by political parties being bought by corporations. totally unethical.


Organic food production is like most renewable energy hopelessly uneconomic and without the massive government subsidies is bound to fail.

Subsidies like the Pesticide laden industry gets? Like the coal industry gets? Wonder why organics only works small scale as ethical businesses onoy work small scale. Corporate greed is the undoing of our modern world.


Corrinne , don’t believe all you hear, there are no subsidies for the coal industry, they don’t pay the road user excise for diesel use, neither does anybody else and I have never heard of subsidies to the pesticide industry please enlighten me.

there is $8 billion given in coal subsidies in this country. not to the users, but the huge coal companies. again its the corporation that benefits, and these corporations donations hundreds of thousands to politicians on both sides of the fence to make sure this continues.

as far as the pesticides industry goes, all the subsidies are investments made into research - GMOs and research $s are all spent on toxic versions of what nature should be allowed to do. you cant rush nature and if you want to grow things faster/cheaper/nastier then it comes at a cost - our health and our planets.

small scale organic farming is the only way to ethically produce food and save our planet in these drying conditions. before the CSIRO lost all its funding to the mighty corporate $, the completed a 30 year study on organic farming to find that it outperforms in times of drought. what is happening to all our farming land now, should be the impetus for farmers to convert and get out of the corporate woolworths mentality and evil way they do business and return to what we should be doing for us and future generations. sadly there is such a shortage of organic grain production in Australia certified organic chicken producers are now paying $1000/ton for certified organic feed. how can you not say there is money in organic farming…


There is no $8 billion in subsidies for coal
Pesticides the companies pay for their own research.
We dont have drying conditions , most of the dams are full
When we relied on small scale organic farming life expectancy was 55
CSIRO maintained their funding but were made to stop funding dodgy climate change research, they were also asked why they needed any funding at all after 100 years of research and inventing WIFI
The reason grain prices are up is the appalling organic yields have sent the farmers out of business.

here’s 5 different articles talking about the coal industry subsidies.

when people only lived to 55 it was due to nutritional deficiency and lack of hygiene and cramped living conditions. organic outperforms all non-organic farming methods in drought. check with the CSIRO if you don’t believe me.


Hi Both,

Unfortunately, the ethics in food production has to address a lot more than what’s been addressed here. For instance (and this is simply a small pool,there are a myriad of others!
Some more direct considerations include:
Government oversight, compliance reporting, enforcement. - APVMA AQIS and FSANZ for our foods
All Peak industry bodies - eg. NFF (National Farmers Fed and other bodies underneath) and AfGC (Australian Food and Grocery Council)
NGO’s and the enforcement of their related legislation pools - Eg. RSPCA and the Animal Welfare Act/s
National Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines - APVMA and their related acts.
Plant breeders/grain etc… and the Gene regulation - OGTR
Livestock and Animal Health Australia and the livestock welfare code and Dept of Agriculture and Dept of Water resources.
Farming practices,transport, Labelling , production chains and manufacturing and retail practices.

Overlay all the above sectors/businesses with each having to address their respective environmental considerations and other ethical considerations (other than what they may already address) and relating to their business practice and you are in for quite a ride,…!!


Corporate greed including those in the food industry is an issue since no ‘ONE’ person is responsible for the decisions.
The Corporation is a juggernaut and unfortunately a sign of the times, resulting in excessive socio-economic disparity in the community.
No sane person would make the decisions that result in pain and suffering to future generations including their own.

The US provides many examples such as Monsanto, the Soft Drinks [Soda] Lobby and many more.
All of them disguised as various ‘good citizen’ concerned groups.

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You are aware that there are “organic” farmers that use pesticides, right? And those that don’t usually control pests in equally damaging ways, like culling.

I agree with @peter4 in relation to the alleged coal subsidies. This is a myth perpetuated by some left wing anti-coal groups.

There are concerns about organic farming, these include:

  • it can lead to depletion of soil nutrients and fertility where the organic nutrient inputs are less than that required for plant growth, and where balance of nutrients is from the soil. This most often occurs in broad acre organic farming such as sugarcane, cereals and potentially intensive animal husbandary using improved pasture.

  • organic farming won’t feed the worlds population.

  • being organic does not mean it will produce less environmental impacts or better for the environment than conventional farming. Some of the organic farming inputs are just as toxic to the wider environment as that used in conventional farming.

  • organic farming is not necessarily nutitionally better. It may pose less risk in relation to synthetic chemicals such ss those used in conventional farming, but only where such chemicals are not used appropriately or in accordance of the manufacturer guidlines…

yes but they’re not toxic petrochemical pesticides. a completely different way of looking after the soil. petrochemicals deplete it and that’s what we have to stop using.

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conventional farming ads PKN to their plants. only to make them grow. its synthetic and petrochemical based. organic farming techniques should use good compost which contains many more goodies than just PKN. but more importantly they are naturally derived and not synthetic. this is the key to the environmental destruction with conventional farming. sadly the worlds’ top soil is disappearing with monoculture farming and high petrochemical based application of fertiliser and roundup. coupled with GMOs and you’ve got a disaster.

as far as feeding the world, the problem isn’t the lack of food, its the lack of money - all caused by corporate greed. African countries are selling of valuable land rights to foreign rights to the loss of subsistence farmers. there never has been a lack of food produced on this planet - its just a line made up by the likes of monsaten to produce more of their toxic unproductive food.

while the likes of monsatan have also bandied about the nutritional differences not being hugely better than their toxic stuff, I’m sure its all just bought science like the rest of your arguments. organic food tastes better. employs more people. and is the only way we can survive into the future. we have to stop monoculture and commercial farming practices as they are destroying our planet and our health with all the added pesticides and chemicals in our food and water. this is what’s wrong with the coal industry too. its just corporate greed gone wrong. no one wants it any more which is why superannuation funds around the world are dropping them like cold potatoes covered in roundup. no one wants them anymore and our planet is moving on. regardless of what our government does its a dinosaur that has passed its useby date. thankfully there are more around who have noticed this.

their farms as well as loads of petrochemicals and farm in a monoculture environment - also harmful when

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I agree dogdoc. but all the government agencies you’ve mentioned are nothing more than corporations doing the will of the corporations. set up to divide and conquer. with one agency pointing to the other and so on. making it difficult for mere mortals to combat the power that the corporations wield. the only way out is to not participate in that system. one of the ways to not participate is to buy organic food and food that is produced by small ethical businesses. while we’re still beholden to driving petrol cars we have choices with so many other things in our lives and that’s why I’d like to see more conversations like this going on, but also having CHOICE take these to the masses. the ones that keep supporting the stupidmarkets week in week out. those that are unhappy about the state of play in the recent milk debacle by woollies etal might be unaware that they treat every line in their business in exactly the same way. I’ve had friends sent to the wall from these big evil giants on a whim by the big corporate bastards that they are. we do have an incredible amount of power over what sort of life we lead and what we wish to support and spend our $s on. if only more knew it…

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@corinne.coombs, organic is not a panacea. Here are some articles which further expand on what I highlighted above.

The problem with organic food.

Nutrients in organic farming

Having lectured in the subject of resource v recovery, which includes elements relatiing to organic production , there are many other peer reviewed scientific articles from independent researchers which also raise the limitations of organic farming.

Organic farming has a place, but so does conventional farming. Organic farming is also a good way to reuse waste materials which otherwise would have been burnt, buried or disposed of in other ways.

Many of the purposed beneficial improvements in the physical and chemical properties of soils under organic farming can also be actived by readily modifying traditional conventional farming practices, one example is the adoption of zero or minimum till cultivation and trash retention. There are also many other practices which achieve the same benefits.

It also needs to be recognised that a plant does not know the difference between inorganic or organic nutrients, as the plant takes up the nutrients in the same form. A challenge for organic farming is contaminates (materials not wanted but occur in the organic input) which can impact on soil health in the long run. These contaminates can include things like salts and heavy metals. Whilst these also occur in inorganic inputs, they are measured and reported in inorganic inputs as they have a consistent quality. Such is often not reported/measured in organic inputs due to high variability between batches of the input. It is easier to manage what is known rather than what6bis not in such circumstances.

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Tax payers subsidise huge amounts of money for the mining industry. Something that has been popping up in the news recently is that mine-site rehabilitation is often avoided by those in the industry which leaves the government - us - to foot the bill of the costs. Plus, you need to take into account other effects from mining that the industry does not pay for. They externalise so many costs: the obvious one being carbon sequestering. I recommend you conduct your own thorough research before support either side of the discussion.

Edit: popping* not pooping


sure phbriggs2000, organic farming is far from perfect, Demeter biodynamic farming is as close to natural as you’ll ever find, but organic is still the best way forward not only for us by our planet. but you cant tell me that spraying rounding is better can you? destroying all the microbes is not going to help anyone today let alone in the future.

Hi @corinne.coombs, I am not going to provide an opinion on bio-dynamic farming as you will not like what I have too say.

What I can say based on numerous scientific/research projects that show that bio-dynamic farming has no efficacy. There have been studies showing that bio-dynamic farming has lower production per hectare when compared to other forms of farming, however, the these output have a lower energy input per unit of production (say amount of energy used to create one bushel of wheat is less for bio-dynamic farming) that conventional farming. Strict bio-dynamic farming (no other inputs than bio-dynamic brews/elixirs) has also shown to lead to lower year on year production levels, primarily due to the exploitation and depletion of the inherent soil fertility. Such in the long term impacts on soil health and microbial activity.

Bio-dynamic farmers also think that adding their brews will create something from nothing, using microbes. For example, a soil low in phosphorus suddenly will have high plant available phosphorous after adding a specific brew. Some of my soil science friends akin that to alchemy.

It is also worth noting that one cubic centimetre of most soils under any form production of has as many microbes as the worlds population.

Conventional farming and use of round does not kill microbes - unless the soils is intentionally treated with say methyl bromide for fungal disease control. Practices such as improving pastures, fertilising, reducing tillage and trach retention (to zero tillage if possible) and rotating crops can increase non-pathogenic/beneficial fungi and nematodes.

What has been shown in conventional farming is that with planting the same crop over many seasons, pathogens can build up making crops more susceptible to disease and crop failure. This is overcome by crop rotation. Same practices also apply apply to organic farming and home vegetable gardens.

Matthew Evans has released a book about veganism and potentially the mistaken beleif that eating vegan diet prevents the death or the cruelty to animals.

I am yet to read his book (something I plan to do when I have time and the local library gets it in), but it does seem what he is saying is food for thought. Here is an ABC article with some of the information presented in the book…

An article was also in the Weekend Australian magazine on 29-30 June 2019.

I wonder if veganism is more an ideology or mistaken belief, than a reality?

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The proponents’ primary argument is ethical so I want to raise some questions about vegan ethics.

The quoted speaker for the vegans says straight up that they concede that many animals must die to produce vegetable food and that they are advocating harm minimisation. If that is the case we ought to be considering which approach to diet does the least harm.

Is harm defined by numbers or mass? Which is worse slaying thousands of mice to grow your grain or leaving the mice alone to grow a few dozen cattle on the same sized field of grass?

One way to reduce animal involvement is to kill fewer by making the best use of each one of them; so you would endeavour to eat every part of protein tissue, turn the hide, wool or feathers into artifacts or clothes, make soup with the bones and soap with the fat. Vegans get quite prescriptive about this, they do not utilise anything that is an animal, was an animal or was derived from an animal. So it seems doctrine places strict limits on how you do harm reduction. Does that rule actually result in the least harm?

Consider those who believe killing animals is wrong but if they die of natural causes eating them is OK. It seems rather wasteful of nature’s bounty to bury a large amount of steak if it drops dead at your door.

Sticking to the strict interpretation may lead you into ethical contortions if you like cats or other obligate carnivores. Either you condone them eating meat (or meat products) or condemn them to malnutrition.

Another issue is the ethical reasoning behind eating vegetables. According to some faiths veggies do have souls, if their bodies both weigh 3kgs, does the soul of a cabbage weigh less than the soul of a chicken? As vegetarians do their best to eat the freshest fruit and vegetables (as we all should) many will still be alive on the fork and into the mouth. Carnivores usually kill their prey before eating it, so which is more moral?