Milk From America (2013): As China’s middle class grows, so does its penchant for milk and cheese. Over in the US, some see an opportunity to revive California’s beleaguered dairy industry, but it’s making environmentalists nervous.
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“China has been going through a major economic growth boom over the last 20 years and that has fuelled consumption of dairy products”, explains Ross Christieson, a consultant for the California Milk Advisory Board. Although China is trying to build its own nascent dairy industry to meet this demand, it relies heavily on imports. Over in California, where 300 dairies have gone out of business in 5 years, it is a welcome new fad. Yet environmental scientists argue it is wreaking havoc on air and water quality in the US and skyrocketing prices of feed for dairy cows. “We’re bearing the burden of all this for a product that is being exported”, says Brent Newell, legal director for the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. There is also a nervousness that the Chinese demand for dairy is only a passing trend. With hundreds of farms poised to provide its products to their new foreign friends, the critics are adamant: “You can’t keep sticking more dairies in the Valley in order to give cheese to China!”
The Center For Investigative Reporting – Ref. 5872
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