Farmers hit back at Veganuary’s ‘misinformation’ to keep meat on menu

British farmers are launching campaign to promote meat consumption during Veganuary to fight “misinformation and false truths” on social media.

The Agriculture and Horticultural Development Council has said it wants to “give farmers a voice” for a month filled with ads promoting a vegan lifestyle.

The group said that for many people, the weekly store had become a “moral minefield” and wanted to help consumers make thoughtful and informed choices.

They said the “We Eat Balanced” campaign was not about competing with the vegan movement, but hoped to encourage people to think about how they could eat a balanced diet, while doing their part for the planet. by buying British products.

Environmental activists say agriculture is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, and climate advisers say the public should be urged to eat less meat to help protect the planet.

The National Farmers Union said the harsh reality is “it’s really not as simple as saying plant-based foods are good and animal-source foods are bad.”

“Giving a voice to farmers”

The Agriculture and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) campaign will feature new advertising that will air on Channel 4, ITV and Sky as well as on-demand services.

The ad focuses on “a curious little girl” named Nancy with her grandfather who discovers the benefits of red meat and dairy products, as a natural source of vitamin B12, produced to “world class standards” .

Buyers will also see the campaign on supermarket shelves for meat and dairy products. The AHDB expects to reach 90 percent of adults during the month.

Its chief marketing officer, Liam Byrne, said: “January is a key time of year for the campaign as there is more emphasis on the ‘cut down on meat and dairy’ message to consumers of brands, TV shows and media in general.

“Through the campaign, we are giving farmers a platform and a voice to present the facts about UK food and farming, and sharing them with the entire industry to make sure we all use factual information consistently. “

He added: “The We Eat Balanced campaign seeks to reconnect consumers with their food and demonstrates that if you want to make small, positive changes for the better, then sourcing your meat and dairy products in the UK means that you are purchasing a product with a lower carbon footprint and produced to some of the highest production standards in the world.

“Additionally, meat and dairy both contain vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that is not naturally found in plant-based foods, so adding some meat or dairy to your veg will increase. the number of vitamins in your meal. “

The campaign started in January last year, albeit on a smaller scale, but has drawn a number of complaints from organizations such as The Vegan Society, PETA and Humane League UK. The Advertising Standards Authority ultimately dismissed all complaints.

A spokesperson for the National Farmers Union said, “What we eat is a personal choice and it is important that we all make informed decisions. It really isn’t as simple as saying plant-based foods are good and animal foods are bad – it all depends on where and how they were produced.

“Livestock farming in the UK is very different from large-scale systems in the US or Brazil where it causes deforestation. Our greenhouse gas emissions from beef are less than half the world average, and our livestock are raised on grass-based diets, pastures that store a significant amount of carbon. “

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