Congratulations on your lead story ‘Chinese Takeaway’ in Sentinel-Times, January 28.
Like many others, we are greatly concerned at the proposed factory dairy farming development in Loch-Kernot Road, Kernot and the setting of a precedent in our shire for such development on a large scale.
Along with the issues raised in your article, we would stress
• The scale and appropriateness of such a development.
• Cruelty to animals: feeding by feedlots is a backward step. It is unethical to treat food-producing animals in this way.
• Inappropriate site for environmental reasons: the site is close to the Bass River and suffers from periodic inundation.
• Environmental, social, cultural, and community changes: We believe Australia is one of the best countries in the world in which to live and we want to see what we love about it protected and preserved.
Except for going down an unconscionable path with factory farming of fowls and pigs and live sheep and cattle exports, and the like, we tend to be a humane society that treats our animals, including food-producing animals, as living creatures that should be treated with respect and allowed to live lives as close as possible to natural lives and see them as creatures that are capable of suffering pain and the like.
We value our rural landscapes and enjoy seeing healthy animals contentedly grazing on rolling hills and plains.
However, if the feedlot practices proposed go ahead with dairy cows, it puts family farms even more at risk than they currently are.
The character of the Kernot area will change, not only to the detriment of farm animals but to the detriment of Australians who live in and visit the area.
They will lose a lifestyle amenity and our society, culture and community will change to its detriment.
Put another way, the area will be sacrificed and consequently suffer big losses with few wins to the local community or wider community.
• Heritage: What sort of heritage are we handing on to our children and Australians of the future? For a short-term gain to a few, much will be lost to future generations.
• Secrecy: This development was kept under wraps and not made known to the local or wider community until recently. We applaud the belated admission by the Bass Coast Shire CEO that the council had handled the proposal badly and that they were trying to rectify the situation by advertising the project, conducting a proper public consultation process and allowing late submissions.
• Food Security: Good on China for looking after its people’s food security. We should be doing the same and not selling off freehold land to overseas interests. Allowing such a development as the one proposed at Kernot unlocks rural land for inappropriate purposes. We should be ensuring our food security, not jeopardising it.
• Sustainability: Fauna and flora concerns: The more non-native animals on a farm, the less chance for native animals to co-exist with them. Bass Coast Shire is already in trouble maintaining the native animals it already has without endangering them further with the proliferation of sites overloaded with non-native animals.
• Establishing a Precedent: If up to 1000 cattle might be accommodated on a farm without a permit, will this be the thin edge of the wedge? How soon will it be before along any of our roads we have a line of small (?) properties like the one proposed for the farm on the Loch-Kernot Rd? Consider the possibility of more properties containing cattle feedlots with 999 cattle springing up, for instance, along the Loch-Kernot Road, The Gurdies-Kernot Road, along the coast and roads between Corinella and Coronet Bay, between Corinella and Tenby Point. Or along the coast between Inverloch and Cape Paterson? Or on Phillip Island east of Newhaven?
• All concerned about such issues should put in a submission to council, attend public meetings on issues and sign relevant petitions.
Meryl & Hartley Tobin,
An ugly precedent