BBC documentary shows why food standards must be upheld in future trade deals

UK Farming Union Presidents (L-R: NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick, UFU President Ivor Ferguson, NFU President Minette Batters, NFU Cymru President John Davies)

The Presidents of the four UK farming unions have responded to the recent BBC documentary Meat: A Threat to our Planet?

In a joint statement they said:

“At no point did the documentary explain the vast differences between American meat production and UK production. This was a massive oversight considering the BBC’s audience and would have left people with the impression that all meat is produced in the same way.

“We know the public want to eat sustainably and they can do this by investing in the UK livestock sector, which is already producing some of the most climate-friendly beef and lamb in the world and has an ambition to do even more. Beef production in the UK is already 2.5 times more efficient than the global average and four times more efficient than places which are deforesting land.

“Simply showing the environmental impact of beef production in North and South America does nothing to help people make informed choices about food which can be grown and reared in ways that offer benefits for the environment. For example, with the UK’s climate, landscape and grass-based systems we have the means, and the ambition, to provide quality, nutritious meat in ways that not only protect the environment, but help mitigate the world’s impact on the climate.

“The documentary did, however, demonstrate the concerns UK farming has about future trade, and what we could expect to see on our supermarket shelves if the government were to allow food into the country which has been produced in ways that would be illegal here.

“If we are to maintain our values of environmental protection and animal welfare, which are at the core of UK farming, and we know the public want to uphold, future trade deals must ensure all imports meet the standard required of UK farmers.”

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Help get the message across

British farming has a fantastic story to tell. The NFU has created a suite of content to help members showcase the British beef and sheep industry on social media.

Click here to download shareable video and infographics to help you showcase the ways British farmers work to protect the environment, care for their animals and provide nutritious food for the nation.

British beef greenhouse gas infographic_70604


Last edited on: 26:11:2019

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  • Posted by: Ellie AllwoodPosted on: 27/11/2019 18:29:15

    Comment: Whilst I completely support the NFU in making sure the Great British public have all the information availiable - please make sure it is presented in an undertandable way!!! My colleague and I had to read the "message" advert above a couple of times before we understood it ... and we know what the message is! You read "2.5 Footprint" and the immediate impression is that it is 2.5 times more! I think the "Lower" or "Less" needs to be the largest word - It needs to have full impact immediately.
  • Posted by: john curtisPosted on: 27/11/2019 20:03:35

    Comment: Saw the Meat-A Threat To Our Planet. I do not think protectionism( the EU tariff wall) is the answer to this or any other trading problem. Globalization will in the end prevail. We have as a nation to think in terms of cutting our costs rather than propping up prices. This means cutting out the armies of hangers on who have been bleeding farmers dry for decades. I think we can push grass fed beef as a long term carbon negative product due to cattle's much kinder grazing effect on permanent pasture and the short life of released methane. Sheep are more difficult but justifying any of the 'artificially' fed systems other than as users of otherwise waste products is a very real problem. Likewise I am very suspicious of growing crops as fuel for biomass projects.
    However the real driving force behind all environmental degradation is the uncontrolled growth in world wide human population. That is the disease, the rest of it are really only the symptoms.
  • Posted by: Richard SpencerPosted on: 30/11/2019 07:57:56

    Comment: We need more knowledge of facts like that published in a simple format so we can all educate the customers

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