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NFU hosts meeting after universities ban sale of beef products on campus

The union made the move after Cambridge, Goldsmiths and the University of East Anglia all banned the sale of beef products on campus.

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NFU hosts meeting after universities ban sale of beef on campus

The NFU hosted a meeting with 40 university delegates last week to explain the benefits of beef and lamb farming and point out that ‘over simplistic’ reporting on meat could exacerbate environmental problems.

 

The union made the move after Cambridge, Goldsmiths and the University of East Anglia all banned the sale of beef products on campus.

 

A petition to do the same at Durham University was launched by students last month.

 

Speakers at the event, which included Dr Michelle Cain of the University of Oxford and Professor Michael Lee of Rothamsted Institute, told attendees greenhouse gas emissions were ‘not a black and white issue’, especially when considering livestock production.


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The UK is already producing beef which is 2.5 times more efficient than the global average.

 

NFU president Minette Batters said: “As this event has made clear, food sustainability is a complex issue.

 

“We need to consider the wider implications of our diets, look at the nuances of the metrics used to determine climate and environmental impact, and question the sourcing of all of our food, not just our meat products.”

 

Sustainability

Dr Ellie Atkins, a lecturer of biological sciences at Staffordshire University, said the event had reinforced her view that livestock farming in Britain could ‘encourage biodiversity’ and the UK could be a producer of sustainable food.

 

“We know British meat is produced to high environmental and animal welfare standards, we just need to keep championing these,” she added.

The meeting was held as agricultural experts from Edinburgh University and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) warned shifting the public to an entirely vegan diet would lead to biodiversity loss during a Science and Media Centre (SMC) briefing on meat production last Wednesday (November 27).

 

The scientists even went so far as to suggest veganism could harm the environment.

 

Director of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security at Edinburgh University, Geoff Simm, said: “Climate change is incredibly important, but biodiversity is also incredibly important. So too are livelihoods and healthy diets.

 

“We have to find ways of finding win-wins.”

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