I spend my days at World Animal Protection campaigning for cows – to keep them grazing in fields, where they have the freedom to roam in an enriched environment, with plenty of space to interact with the other cows in their herds. Unsurprisingly grazing in a field is where many dairy farmers and the vast majority of people believe cows belong. But intensive indoor dairy farms where cows are permanently housed all year round can now be found across the UK.
Cows are very inquisitive animals with social hierarchies. Housing them within intensive indoor systems can result in heightened aggression as well as putting cows at risk of a range of health impacts.
A lack of official statistics means we’re short on the facts when it comes to knowing exactly how many intensive dairy farms there are, how much intensive milk is being produced and how many cows face a life that means they will never or rarely graze on grass in a field.
And a lack of clear labelling means as consumers we’re short on the facts when it comes to knowing if the milk we’re drinking has come from cows that are free to graze outside, where they can express their natural behaviours or from intensive indoor dairy farms. And lots of people, like me, really want to know exactly that: Where does my milk come from and how is it produced?
In our new Full Fact Milk film, I spoke to farmers about why grazing on grass is better for cows and why they feel passionate about giving these gentle creatures the freedom to express their natural behaviours. Andrew Ayrton, a pasture-based dairy farmer, told me “To go outdoors is just a basic freedom that every cow should have. I couldn’t live with myself, looking at a cows cooped up in a building all summer long. It’s just not where they belong.”
It was wonderful to meet and film the cows in Yorkshire and Shropshire and see how they had the space to graze and exhibit their natural behaviours.
The beautiful cows I met were calm, contented and had the freedom to roam and I’m sure this is what most consumers have in mind when they think about where their milk comes from – lush green fields with free grazing cows.
Sadly, that is not always the truth.
I also spoke to shoppers for their views about keeping cows in intensive-indoor dairy units or on pasture based dairy farms. You can see in our film how the people I met reacted to seeing the difference between the two kinds of farms and how they wished to see a free range dairy labelling system for milk in a similar way to the labelling that exists for eggs.
We urgently need the facts about how our milk is produced, and that’s why we are calling for milk to be labelled so that you can choose to buy milk from cows guaranteed to have grazed in fields for most of the year.
Please check out our short film and find out more about how you can help keep cows free to graze on grass by signing our pledge.
Over 40,000 animal lovers have signed already so, if you want to help keep cows in fields, please take the Full Fact Milk Pledge today
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .