Gloucestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Meat and the Climate Emergency

Wednesday, 04 December 2019 21:19

A pastoral landscape A pastoral landscape Robin Colley


4 December 2019

A documentary programme (Meat: A threat to our planet?) recently broadcast on BBC TV raised the issue of red meat production and its contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. Concerns have been raised that the programme lacked balance and implied that all meat production was severely damaging and consumption should be drastically cut to address the climate emergency.

Following the programme, the NFU president, Minette Batters responded in a newspaper article.  Minette pointed out that production of red meat in the UK does not involve destruction of virgin rain forest or huge, intensive feed lots.  It does, however, utilise extensive areas of this country which are good for growing grass rather than arable crops to produce valuable protein for human consumption - people can’t eat grass!  Also, subject to appropriate stocking levels and sensitive land management, grazing livestock can and do play a key role in sustaining biodiversity, including on sites of high nature conservation importance.

CPRE shares the concern that it would be easy to severely damage the economics of beef and sheep farming in the UK, with resultant adverse effects on parts of our countryside, without any useful contribution to ameliorating the climate change emergency.  It is crucially important, in any future trade negotiations, that a level playing field is provided for British farmers including a ban on importation of produce which does not meet the UK's high standards of production in feed regimes or animal welfare.

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