Extremists hijacking climate change agenda

Extremist groups are using climate change as a “stick to beat the livestock industry”, the Welsh meat promotion board has warned.

Rees Roberts, chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, has accused anti-meat organisations of “hijacking” the climate change agenda for their own purposes and making false claims about the impact of livestock production on the environment.

Speaking on the opening day of the Royal Welsh Show, he warned that anti-meat celebrity campaigns were receiving a huge amount of media coverage, and said it was vital that some “balance” is injected into the debate.

“Unfortunately, there are some individuals and organisations that use climate change as a stick to beat the livestock industry,” he said. “They have latched onto the issue, making outrageous claims that consuming meat equates to destroying the world.

“It’s a message that gets a huge amount of publicity. The recent Meat-Free Monday campaign is a case in point. Supported by many celebrities, it gained a large amount of coverage in the national press.

“We must not allow pressure groups to hijack a popular cause – such as the fight against climate change – to use against us.”

Roberts added that meat industry organisations, such as HCC, are taking the issue of climate change very seriously.

“We are working on a climate change ‘roadmap’, looking at the impact the beef and sheep supply chain has on climate change. We are investigating how to take positive steps to mitigate that impact without having an adverse effect on our businesses,” he said.

Pointing out that there is a need to balance the needs of feeding the world with the needs of the environment, he concluded: “We need to make sure that the truth – that livestock farmers are here to feed the planet, not destroy it – continues to be heard loud and clear by the public.”