In this file:


·         UK farming unions respond to BBC meat documentary

·         Farmers accuse BBC of bias over prime-time anti-meat programme

·         BBC meat documentary 'is best advert' for public to buy British



UK farming unions respond to BBC meat documentary


By Simon King, Pig World (UK) 

November 26, 2019


The four UK farming union presidents have said that last night’s BBC documentary, Meat: a threat to our planet?, shows why food standards must be upheld in future trade deals.


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 4 times more efficient than places which are deforesting land.”


The statement continued: “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 joint statement said that 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.


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Farmers accuse BBC of bias over prime-time anti-meat programme


Philip Clarke, Farmers Weekly  (UK) 

26 November 2019


Farmers have accused the BBC of biased reporting following its hour-long documentary Meat: A Threat to Our Planet?, which examined the environmental effects of livestock production around the world.


The programme, aired at 9pm on BBC1 on Monday (25 Novmber), included footage and interviews from US cattle feedlots and intensive pig units – focusing on the scale of production, the impact on the atmosphere and the pollution of watercourses.


Presenter Liz Bonnin then travelled to Brazil to highlight the ongoing destruction of the rainforest to make way for cattle ranches, and the expansion of monoculture in the Cerrado region – both of which contribute to global warming and affect biodiversity.


“It makes me sick to my stomach,” said Ms Bonnin, at the sight of cattle ranches on cleared parts of the Amazon rainforest.


The programme claimed that 40% of the world’s crops are fed to livestock, not people, while one-third of the world’s biodiversity loss was caused by farming animals.


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BBC meat documentary 'is best advert' for public to buy British


by FarmingUK Team (UK) 

26 November 2019


Farmers are promoting the sustainability of British produced meat following a BBC documentary which looked at the environmental issues stemming from US intensive beef systems.


The documentary, entitled ‘Meat: A Threat To Our Planet?’, aimed to raise awareness of the environmental issues associated with global food production.


Specifically, it looked at how the public can continue to eat meat without harming the planet.


The programme, which aired last night (25 November), focused on farming methods in the Americas, not those followed in the UK.


Presenter Liz Bonnin travelled through the meat capital of the US, Texas, and visited an intensive beef farm.


She also visited the pig-rearing regions of North Carolina and a cattle farm in the Amazon region of Brazil.


But despite the 'alarming and misleading' title, the National Beef Association (NBA) was quick to highlight that 'not all beef is the same'.


Indeed, figures show that the carbon footprint of UK beef is 35% lower than the global average.


UK agriculture also contributes only 10% to the country's emissions, while transport and energy supply make up over 50%.


Using these figures, the NBA highlighted that there is a 'difference' between British beef and beef produced in other countries.


To help reduce carbon emissions, the group said it is 'more effective' to buy local, sustainably produced and unprocessed foods, which includes British meat.


“Beef production systems across the globe are too often portrayed the same, which is far from the truth,” said Chris Mallon, NBA national director.


“The UK is one most of the most sustainable places in the world to produce red meat because 60% of the land that makes up our agricultural landscapes is unsuitable for planting crops.


“Grazing livestock converts the naturally occurring grass into high quality protein, enabling the world’s growing population to be fed sustainably.


“Grazing livestock also acts as a fertilizer for soils, which leads to higher levels of carbon sequestration, so actually acts as a carbon sink, something that is rarely remembered,” he said.


After programme, farmers and the general public took to social media to highlight the sustainability of British-produced meat and the importance of buying local.


Stuart Roberts, NFU's vice president, said the documentary was 'the best advert' for UK-produced meat and for the government to be aware of striking trade deals with countries with lower environmental standards...


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