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Wool industry has positive impact on planet - Expert
Jun '14
At the recent IWTO Conference in South Africa, Mr. Allan Savory mesmerized the audience for 80 straight minutes whilst presenting his speech ‘Can sheep save the planet?’
According to Chairman of Cape Wools SA, Mr. Geoff Kingwill, this was a watershed moment for the global wool industry to agree the positive impact the industry has on the environment. The wool industry is responding to external pressures to provide information on its environmental impact and extensive LCA research that the industry has undertaken of late will be published in the near future.
“I first heard him speak in the 1990’s and we actually apply those principles. I believe in them, they do definitely work,” says Kingwill, adding that Mr. Savory’s message is wonderful for the industry because it is the complete opposite of what a lot of environmentalists have been saying i.e. there are too many sheep, get them off, you are messing up the land, while Savory is saying that by removing the livestock you will really mess up the land.
Savory told delegates that the concept of stocking rate has no basis in science and is only based on belief. Over-grazing of plants has nothing to do with animal numbers. It has everything to do with how many days a plant is exposed to grazing and how many days it gets to recover. Savory suggested learning from history when many more animals roamed the land without destroying it.
“Savory was banned from every South African university during the apartheid era, simply because his views ran so contrarian to conventional wisdom. I think people haven’t been open-minded enough,” says Kingwill.
The wool industry is getting smarter and making better use of good quality research and information to address concerns raised by the likes of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, whose Higg Index scores wool badly on environmental performance due to the land it uses. The technical data will drive the agenda going forward and definite progress will be made.

Cape Wools

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