It is deeply disappointing, but not in the slightest bit surprising, that the shambles which is now the BBC should choose to screen a totally unbalanced view of livestock production.
The facts portrayed in the ‘Don’t eat meat, save our planet’ programme, which is what it should have been called instead of ‘Meat: A threat to our planet?’, almost totally ignored the much more ecologically friendly way in which food is produced by the UK farming industry compared to the USA.
Cattle and sheep husbandry in the uplands and highlands of Scotland is almost diametrically opposed to what we were subjected to in this programme.
Flake maize and soya play a small part in quality feeds fed to youngstock and pedigree stock on our farms, but most cattle rations in our area would be grass or forage-based and using varying quantities of home grown or locally grown cereals, with the straw from the cereal crops used for winter bedding and within dry cow rations as winter feeding.
Many beef finishers still have cattle at grass for the summer months and the conserving of grass for silage is certainly one of the most important jobs on our farm.
The counter message I would like to put forward to anyone who watched the programme would certainly be to buy British and buy local Scottish, English, Welsh or Northern Irish with very few air miles and the highest welfare standards monitored by independent bodies.
The NFU and Quality Meat Scotland should be preparing the counter video showing the way in which our meat is produced, and that it is done so in areas which are suitable for producing protein from grass, but are not capable of growing arable crops.
That is certainly the case in the north of Scotland where we won’t be producing any soya or maize in considerable quantities any time soon.
Without importing vegetables into our area, you would have to survive on a diet of carrots, neeps and tatties and possibly some salad in the summer and soft fruits, but little else without the use of polytunnels.
Oh, dear I forgot too much plastic is ruining our climate.
At the moment there are many choices for the consumer but surely they need to be encouraged, for their own welfare and that of others, to eat a balanced diet and having the odd binge on birthdays and holidays.
It is a very important time for everybody to remember a tap turned off for livestock production takes a long time to start running again if starting from scratch.