As part of the work required to complete her Master of Commerce degree, Auckland academic Claire Ohle, recently turned her attention on the New Zealand dairy industry.

The ethics essay she finally submitted included a review of a substantial range of literature affecting the industry but, for Claire, the key question centred on whether New Zealanders have been misled by the dairy industry particularly in areas concerning health and what influences our beliefs.

Essentially, what concerns her most is whether the industry and its products are at all necessary to our wellbeing.

Her wide-ranging review identifies a “blind spot” when it come to connecting dairy industry products with certain cancers despite a considerable amount of overseas evidence that proves it. And, she points a finger at New Zealand’s cancer societies for not joining up the dots.

“Either the respective cancer societies are not aware of these studies or they have chosen to not highlight the possible link to our largest export,” she says.

Her observation is that this “would be a pretty unethical stance for cancer organisations to take but they may have taken this stance as they rely heavily on donations from the general public.”

Overall, for Ohle, the critical ethical issue at stake here is whether the livelihoods of farmers, the dairy industry, rural communities and the wealth of New Zealand is more important than the health of the public and the environment.

Click on the image below to access this essay.

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Click on the image above to check out Chris Huriwai’s video on the Fontera, Milk For Schools, programme.