Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Are they awake?

In May 2012 Donna Laframboise, journalist and author from Toronto, Canada, declared in a blog article, The World Wakes Up to the World WildlifeFund.  

Donna Laframboise sights two recent articles, the first by Christopher Booker the veteran, well known journalist for the UK newspaper The Telegraph called, How climate change has gotWorldwide Fund for Nature bamboozled. Very kindly the second article recommended was by myself and called, Can producers trustWWF to be accountable? 

Christopher Booker writes about how far WWF has come from its formation in 1961 “for the admirable purpose of campaigning to save species endangered by human activity, it has morphed in the last 20 years into something very different, more akin to a multinational corporation.”
WWF now, Booker writes, “is the largest, richest and most influential environmental lobbying organisation in the world.” WWF is gaining increasing revenues from partnerships with governments; using its iconic panda logo undertakes commercial activities and by emotional appeals to the public for funds to solve dire environmental problems as Booker says the “most fashionable and lucrative of environmental causes, the “battle to halt climate change”. 

The opinion article, Can producers trust WWF to beaccountable, was published just days before Beef Expo 2012 in Rockhampton during which the Sustainable Beef roundtable seminar was held chaired by Guy Fitzhardinge, who also as a WWF Australia Governor is charged to “use their expertise, influence and networks to enhance WWF’s ability to achieve its programs in Australia and the region.”  Those attending the seminar made it clear that there was little trust by beef producers of WWF’s involvement in the proposed formation of the Australia Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (ARSB). There was also the admission by WWF Australia sustainability manager Rob Cairns that not all of WWF’s campaigns in the past that impacted upon Australian beef producers were science based. An Agforce representative expressed their reservations and NT Cattlemen’s Association executive director Luke Bowen made some poignant observations.

 Photo sourced Beef Central of Guy Fitzhardinge

The debate over the need for an Australian roundtable for sustainable beef and should Australian beef producers accept the involvement of WWF raged for most of 2012 starting in February when WWF placed an advertisement in Rural Press’s Queensland Country Life (QCL) for the position of Sustainable beef project coordinator. There were a number of articles in Australia’s online beef production publication, Beef Central and there was only a rare week when if there wasn’t an article about this issue, there was a letter to the editor in the QCL. Property Rights Australia (PRA) was very active providing well researched information into the debate and took the strong stand of no involvement with WWF. Senator Ron Boswell, retiring next election after a 30 year “remarkable career”, made two strong speeches to the Senate and was published twice on this topic at Quadrant Online which was subsequently published at QCL. Senator Boswell’s endeavours were not missed by prominent national opinion columnist Piers Akerman who wrote [this article] fully endorsed Boswell.  

All this time the national organisation that is supposed to represent the interest of Australian beef producers, Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) ignored all criticism of its unreserved engagement with WWF and did not try to answer factual information presented into the debate that clearly showed the need for great caution. The one time that CCA did consult with beef producers about its future operations with the online survey, Your say beef 2015 and beyond; the highest number of responses was to the question about engagement with WWF with the overwhelming majority saying no.

In February 2013 Senator Ron Boswell wrote,

“primary producers and their peak organisations needed to take a united stand against plans by environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs) to influence their production methods.

"If environmental activists get their way, farmers will be paying thousands of dollars a year to get a 'green tick' just so they can continue marketing their products," he said.

"Groups like WWF and Greenpeace want to force all our primary producers into expensive certification schemes.

"They have started with timber and seafood and are moving into beef, sugar, cotton and other commodities as well. Grassroots producers and their representative organisations must fight these schemes or they will cripple primary industry."

"One of the ENGOs' most successful tactics has been to pressure companies occupying strategic positions in the supply chain, such as dominant buyers," he said. "For example, WWF is sitting at the head of the table in talks with the likes of McDonald's, our largest single buyer of Australian beef, and JBS, our largest meat processor, at the so-called Australian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. WWF convenes roundtables, such as that for design standards, which are ultimately certified by an independent third party. The participants then have to publicly commit to producing, buying and selling within these standards, to be part of the commodity roundtable, forming what WWF calls 'a chain of sustainability'.

"For farmers, it adds up to a lot of money. These are schemes that cost individual producers thousands of dollars for the initial certification process and then regular, ongoing costs for auditing.

"It's completely unnecessary because our primary industries already work sustainably, but it produces a river of gold for the ENGOs and their mates doing farm inspections and auditing.” 

Central Qld cattle producer and PRA board member, Ashley McKay, in the March 7th issue of the QCL had a letter to the editor, featured as, Issue of the week. Ashley McKay congratulates Senator Ron Boswell’s “excellent and accurate denunciation of the WWF’s sustainability schemes” and gives examples of the multiple times WWF have been proven to have made grossly exaggerated, emotionalised claims in what Booker called the “most fashionable and lucrative of environmental causes, the “battle to halt climate change”. Donna Laframboise wrote that the world is waking up to the WWF but it appears not Australian farming industry bodies; Ashley continues:

“How much more evidence is needed for CCA and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to wake up and accept the Greens and WWF have promoted policies and actions damaging the cattle industry for some 20 years and cost us uncountable millions of dollars in lost production and diminished asset value.”

On the same day Ashley McKay’s letter has been published both CCA and ARSB chair and WWF Australia Governor, Guy Fitzhardinge issued separate media releases. They can be read in [this article] at Beef Central. Turns out to be a good news, bad news scenario; plans for the Australia roundtable for sustainable beef has been scrapped. This could be seen as a small victory for beef producers. However CCA are now joining the Global roundtable for sustainable beef.

If Cattle Council of Australia are awake they certainly aren’t listening. Why? Well you tell me and you can do so by commenting below. I have a theory but that will have to wait to the next installment.


  1. This is an excellent post, Dale, on an issue of vital importance to all cattle producers and probably all consumers of Australian beef.

    Congratulations are also in order on having your informative article questioning the accountability of the WWF publicised by Donna Laframboise.

    In response to your query Dale re the Cattle Council of Australia: it seems to me that the Australian roundtable of sustainable beef was only ever intended as a stepping stone to the Global roundtable – part of an agenda geared towards a global economy with a further depletion of our national sovereignty (as we have been witnessing in other areas such as foreign investment).

    A global body would primarily be concerned with global interests rather than with the needs of Australian producers; and the involvement of the WWF means that we can know the nature of those interests – certainly not those of the beef industry!

    Thank God for Senator Ron Boswell and his courageous stand, but as the CCA’s membership of the Global roundtable appears to be a fait accompli, it would, I expect, require a concerted effort on the part of Australian beef producers to extricate themselves from the global influences of the WWF and their ilk.

  2. Senator Ron Boswell in his quote above refers to how environmental non -government organisations (ENGO’s) are controlling certification schemes. “They have started with timber and seafood and are moving into beef, sugar, cotton and other commodities as well.”
    In my article I never explained how these certification schemes are put into place and how they operate. I wish to direct you to a document by Tim Wilson called, Naked extortion? Environmental NGOs imposing involuntary regulations on consumers and business.

    [Click here] to read the document.

    The document is very revealing in how it exposes how Greenpeace and WWF operate. Tim Wilson has referenced his document and in many places from material produced by Greenpeace and WWF.

  3. This post is a credit to your ability Dale and I am confident the summary it gives re the sorry state of our unelected "leaders'" minds will be very useful in future. Dale and Joanne both doing a great job in this regard and leveraging power through the internet, good work both of you. A good team at PRA.

  4. Well said, Dixie. I totally agree.

    And Dale and Joanne are both doing great job through the press as well as the internet. Joanne had an excellent letter on the subject published in this week's Queensland Country Life.

    Could Joanne's letter be reproduced in this thread, Dale?

    1. The Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) has decided to refocus their efforts on the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef rather than the Australian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and has recently joined that organisation.
      The proposed beef certification scheme is not a lone scheme but part of a multi product global initiative.
      Known as the Market Transformation Initiative it is the brainchild of WWF’s Jason Clay and is a plan to have 15 key food and fibre commodities under the umbrella of WWF initiated certification schemes under the guise of environmental “sustainability”.
      Ultimately, their vision is that no product would be able to be marketed without the seal of approval of the certification scheme. No alternate scheme is tolerated and competitors are defamed in a way that would be illegal if done by a non-environmental organisation.
      The following is a direct copy and paste from WWF’s US tax return and shows the scope of their ambitions. Just as in third world countries poor farmers and indigenous communities are disadvantaged or displaced by their plans scant respect has been shown the Australian rural community and producers are not among those they propose to consult with.

  5. Elizabeth and Dixie,
    Thank you for showing such confidence. It is always difficult to try to get your message across.

  6. What a wealth of eye opening (and concerning) information you and Dale have provided, Joanne.

    Those facts you supplied (above) and the link Dale attached, to Tim Wilson’s document with its chilling title of “Naked Extortion? Environmental NGOs imposing [in]voluntary regulations on consumers and business”, present a very sobering picture of the stranglehold that the WWF has on not only the beef industry, but also the "15 key food and fibre commodities”, as you mention.

    Tim Wilson’s document is well worth a read. He is very highly credentialed, insightful and has exhaustively researched his subject. He reveals the strategies employed by the WWF and Greenpeace to coerce/’blackmail’ key primary production bodies and businesses into agreeing to their demands.

    If I may quote a few extracts from his “Executive summary”, re environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs) attempts “to transform markets based on their environmental, social and economic values”. He states:

    “Traditionally their attempts to control trade have been thinly veiled through ‘voluntary’ certification schemes . . . In the past, suspicion of ENGOs colluding to push business into these schemes has been mere speculation. ENGOs are now openly gloating about their collusion to effectively greenmail businesses to adopt certification schemes. . . . After businesses have been pushed into adopting these ‘voluntary’ standards, they then have no choice but to comply as the obligations imposed by the ‘voluntary’ standards are raised. If they try to leave or don’t comply, the same ENGOs will publicly criticise them."

    And on page 14, under section 4.1 “Good Cop/Bad Cop”, Tim details the strategies employed by ENGOs such as WWF and Greenpeace as they collude to create a situation he labels “the environmental equivalent of blackmail, greenmail, to force business to adopt their standards”.

    He explains that: “an activist ENGO targets a business over their environmental, social or economic record. Another middle-of-the-road ENGO establishes a ‘voluntary’ certification scheme that, if adopted, would address these concerns and remove the criticism of the activist ENGO.

    “While a clever strategy, if as explicit as it appears to be written, it raises questions about whether these ENGOs may be colluding to the point of warranting questions of extortion.”

    All of which, of course, begs the question as to whether the Cattle Council of Australia ‘voluntarily’ chose to be part of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef or (more realistically) were ‘persuaded’ - under threat of reprisal for non-compliance - to capitulate to the demands of the WWF?

    A further question: what avenue(s) do we have to change any of this?

  7. Elizebeth you said:

    "A further question: what avenue(s) do we have to change any of this?"

    In this regard surely other NGO relief organisations eg World Vision, Red Cross would be aware of and dealing with the sort of co-lateral damage to the WWF actions, Joanne has outlined in many impoverished areas and peoples?

    Tim Costello etc. may have stories to tell? Dunno how we would open up a discussion with that sector ...just an idea.....

    With regard to certification and the intntion of WWF to be the certification body for everything. In forest industries there is no domination by WWF,much to their fury and that results in the usual smear campaigns by that lot. Even so far the local Australian Forestry Standard has persisted against them. So I don't think a proactive leadership in the beef industry had to necessarily roll with their demands or "persuasions". (I realise you probably agree on this point Elizebeth).

  8. I wasn't signed in but the unknown above was Dixie

  9. Beef roundtable scrutiny,an article published today at farmonline written by Brad Cooper.

    The article includes the following quote from Cattle Council vice chairman Peter Hall

    "Mr Hall said it was important for CCA to have a seat at the table.

    "Given that Australia is massively export orientated and if the world was to go down a path of justifying sustainable beef supply, we need to be at the table to ensure nothing is proposed that will be counter-productive to what we have in Australia.

    "We need to be at that table to provide evidence that what we are doing is already sustainable and that we don't need to do anything different."

    Does this mean that CCA does have some reservations about possible outcomes from the WWF inspired roundtable of sustainable beef? If so why haven't they been communicating any reservations?
    Appears to me to yet again Australian agricultural industry representives are blindly going down the well worn unsucessful path of "we have to be in the tent" or in this case "we have to be at the table". Any present indications are that CCA will go to the table so meekly that they will have no change in changing anything proposed.

  10. Who knows, Dale.

    It does sound rather like white-washing excuse on the part of the CCA to justify their compliance. Or can it be that they are actually ignorant of any subversive agenda or else falsely confident of being able to be a match for the WWF 'heavies"?

    Certainly in the light of present indications, as you say, whatever their motives they are most likely to be ineffectual.

  11. Elizabeth
    I eventually realised that the most efficient way to get my QCL letter up was to copy and paste the original file. Then I became distracted by family issues.
    Here is the letter.

    Dear Sir,
    The news that that Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) has decided not to proceed with The Australian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is welcome. However comments by CCA President Andrew Ogilvie that they have joined the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is still a concern.
    He says that, “ Cattle Council of Australia will have the opportunity to learn and share information about sustainable beef practice” and that “Cattle Council is looking forward to working with a number of global companies towards the goal of improving sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science and multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration,” .
    It may be the aim of the Global Roundtable to have uniform standards across the globe but the competitive advantages Australia enjoys with respect to its research, sustainability, practices, extension, innovation and all round reputation are second to none and have been hard won by the efforts of livestock producers and the levies that they pay.
    We are in the business of trying to compete in a tough world and still stay in business. It is not in our best interests to “share” information nor to engage in “collaboration” to assist the rest of the world to become more “sustainable”.
    Whenever CCA go off on these junkets they need to remind themselves that ‘caring and sharing’ on a global scale is not their charter.
    Queensland Senator Ron Boswell has described the World Wide Fund for Nature( WWF) certification schemes such as the various Roundtables, Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council and the way in which they gain membership as “extortion”.
    Renowned journalist Piers Ackerman in The Telegraph has described our kowtowing to International Green Groups and effectively allowing our environmental policy to be dictated from overseas as “Gillard’s Offshore Solution” where in a piece on certification schemes he claims that “Labor is outsourcing the government. Just as Aussie jobs have been sent offshore, the Gillard Labor-Green-independent minority government has abdicated its decision-making responsibilities and is letting foreign green activists dictate policy.”

    Mr.Ogilvie also informs us that, “The GRSB is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative that envisions a world in which all aspects of the beef value chain are environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable”.
    Even a cursory look at the past policy positions of WWF show that they do not have the slightest concern for the viability of any business or industry except its own multi-billion dollar machine.
    As for being “socially responsible”, that sounds more like spin than genuine concern. From the hatchet job done on livestock producers and canegrowers in the Great Barrier Reef catchments by WWF to its lack of concern for rural communities in the Murray Darling Basin it has amply demonstrated that it is only interested in the preservation of its version of biodiversity and the environment and if that means that people or their means of support must suffer then so be it. This is even the case in third world countries with no safety net: so much for social responsibility.
    If the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef eventually achieves its aims under the WWF’s Market Transformation Initiative, livestock producers can be very sure that the only plank in their platform will be the environment and more specifically biodiversity as they envision it.
    Joanne Rea
    Property Rights Australia.

  12. Good to have your letter here, Joanne. Well done!

  13. Another question that I have is why is Cattle Council Australia (CCA) embarking on a major commitment on behalf of Australian cattle producers when it is about to undergo major changes in its structure?
    This article, Cattle Council restructure plan takes shape, from the 15th November in Beef Central indicates that the preferred model was close to be settled upon. Any restructure will bring CCA to be a more democratic body, more accountable to beef producers. Currently the directors of CCA are not directly elected. Is CCA making this commitment with the Global roundtable for sustainable beef (GRSB) before beef producer are able to direct them not to do so?
    David Byard, CEO of Australian Beef Association (ABA) in an opinion article, CCA Restructure, writes about CCA current structure and his options for a restructure.

    “Cattle Council at present is trying to create a new structure that will allow it to be more relevant to the red meat industry, so far its actions seem to be doing the opposite.
    Cattle Council has publically acknowledge that its annual revenue base of $1.3 million is no longer sufficient to keep pace with the many demands that are placed on the organisation
    As it stands now a person that is not a member of a state farming organisation is not eligible for election to the Cattle Council Board. This type of structure clearly makes Cattle Council a subcommittee of state farming organisations. This type of approach, is certainly not democratic, nor an example of good Governance.”

    That in turn leads me to ask, if Agforce is against CCA involvement with the WWF inspired GRSB, why can’t it direct Agforce nominated CCA directors to vote against it?

  14. Could this possibly represent a whole new and radically important input to the whole issue of animal grazing in Oz??
    As I just mentioned in another discussion here, i have been O/S and just before we left, I killed my trusty laptop with an overdose (literally!) of tonic water! So I am a bit out of touch, and if anyone has already posted the following link to an amazing Youtube presentation by South African octagenarian sciebntist Allan Savory, on how to use ruminants grazing as a means of reversing desertification (and climate change) well I apologise.

    Sorry, you will either have to copy and paste that into your browser (or alternatively, just Google Allan Savoury overcoming desertification), and away you go. i haven't as yet had time to master Dale's useful instructions on writing html to this site ;-(

    Whatever it is an amazing, and well supported 22 min presentation. The story really picks up at about the 14 min 30 secs mark, when it gets into the role of grazing, and moving heards around, as a means of ........ No, go and have a look yourselves, i guarantee it is worth it, and could this be a salvation for the Australian industry?

    Cheers, gotta go

    1. Al, no not just a link but an entire discussion was posted while you were away based on this youtube of Allan Savory.
      Go to this discussion, A bridge in the climate debate

  15. It appears that Indonesian authorities are waking up to WWF. As reported recently in the Jakarta Globe, WWF Comes Under Fire Over Continued Riau Forest Clearing.As Indonesian officials are concerned WWF have failed to protect forest where in was given responsibility to so and at the same time weakened Indonesia's "industrial competitiveness overseas"

    "“It is time for Indonesia to stop compromising with the WWF because it has failed to do anything,” Firman Subagyo, head of the commission, said. “They can only speak out and do black campaigns [against Indonesia] from abroad.

    “Foreign NGOs like the WWF are like thieves visiting our homes to steal our treasures without us realizing it. The NGO’s arrogance has impacted our weakened industrial competitiveness overseas, which will end worsen Indonesia’s economy.”"

  16. Hard-hitting words there from the Jakarta Globe, Dale. No PC 'mincing' of words:

    “Foreign NGOs like the WWF are like thieves visiting our homes to steal our treasures without us realizing it."

    Would make a great slogan!

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. It's happening here too. Are we awake?
    Gas is about to be nicked via Gladstone devastation for almost nothing in value to local people, while environment impact is occurring on Great Barrier Reef during WWF watch. The situation seems akin to Indonesian forest being devastated with the WWF there.
    In other words there is evidence environment and economies of Indonesia and Australia are being run down while other countries benefit, while our country is deprived of information and associated debate the WWF and ABC should be telling us about.
    Look at the evidence and events:
    1. WWF blames farmers for damage and says nothing about southern city sewage nutrient pollution being transported north by current known to science. Bad word of mouth about GBR damage and decline is linked to downturn in GBR and national-international tourism that impacts GBR coastal economies. International tourists hearing about GBR devastation become influenced to travel elsewhere, such as via more profitable short distance air routes. Controlling tourism is not new.
    2. WWF is watching over marine protected areas offshore that do no include essential food-web nursery areas inshore. Fish are not immune to starvation. Ignorance with or without intent of all real causes of fish depletion is resulting in imports of alternative white meat including increasingly imported aquaculture fish, imported wild fish, imported chicken and imported pork. It’s big business with big bank accounts and no dirty hands fishing or farming.
    3. Uncertainty at investor or borrowing level can be provoked. Who would invest in food and fibre production with an alleged runoff problem? Such uncertainty can cause turmoil for local food and fibre producers including foreclosure, suicide, foreign buy up of quality land and business including local and export abattoir and milk production.
    4. Uncertainty and associated downturn in rural industry in one country can be created and made to benefit another country, especially at this time. Loss of fish abundance worldwide is linked to world protein (amino acid) food shortfall in supply, sustainability collapse.
    5. Round table food and fibre industry agenda should involve local influence involving hands on experienced food and fibre producers. For those awake there are commercial opportunities.
    6. If WWF was genuine then GBR and ocean wildlife food-web ecosystems presently undergoing stress and damage from sewage and land use nutrient pollution, and wildlife under trees in Indonesia, would be heard about and not damaged or destroyed as WWF can see has been happening.
    7. The WWF remains unchallenged about their claim of GBR region farm runoff damaging the GBR and what proportion of east Australia city and town sewage nutrient pollution is causing that damage (or is categorically not).
    8. WWF has not declared whether or not AGW – Kyoto science has measured and assessed solar photosynthesis-linked warmth in ocean micro and macro algae plant matter, plant matter likely warming areas of ocean.

    Continued next post......

  19. Continued......

    9. What has the WWF and the ABC public broadcaster said about the real state of seagrass food web ecosystems and 7 dead whales on Frazer Island during a recent 2 year period?
    Can WWF ignore marine animal starvation and the 69% increase in maternal mortality plus increasing malnutrition amongst neighbouring seafood-protein dependent indigenous Pacific islanders?
    The WWF and the ABC are in a position of trust to report environment and humanitarian and economic issues of public concern. If such issues are not heard about then due solutions do not take place. Issues must be politically tenable in order for solutions to be tabled and mandated.
    Motives need consideration. While key issues are not being officially reported significant national industry is being sold overseas. Dairy industry is being forced into unprofitability. Foreign control of export abattoirs is already massive. International profit shifting is a known factor and beware, need to increase revenue from remaining taxable sources is not desirable.
    (At least with a copy and paste link is it possible to verify the source of that link) See:
    Really, are we Australians awake?

  20. WWF have no credibility when it comes to curbing the excesses of the break neck rush development of a CSG industry with no proper planning for future outcomes. WWF said SFA until the Gladstone Harbour disaster became obvious, then with glossy photos & pleads for donations they stepped in as the protector of the Great Barrier Reef. Using the name of this great "icon" has been a major source of donations for WWF. Yet again milking the cash cow.

  21. Dale
    Note toward end of page 2 and onto 3 re free trade focus and beef info. I think you may need to know about this.
    Apology for the non active link.
    So busy.

  22. I am waking up to a more viable and easier way of mustering.

  23. Cattle Council have again proven that they are not awake; check out the lame duck response to McDonald's announcement that they will source " sustainable" beef by 2016. I agree with Brad Bellinger's from the ABA quoted in this article, McDonalds to source sustainable beef for burgers


Welcome to a place that has a focus (but not exclusively) on regional and rural Australia open for anyone living anywhere to read, learn and interact. Please feel free to make a comment.

You can use some HTML codes such as, a for active; b for bold; i for italics

Active code - substitute a for @
<@ href="web address">linked words

[Click Here] for a link to another site where there is a very good simple explanation.