The NFU has called on BBC presenter Evan Davis to apologise to the agricultural community after he said UK farmers would not want the public to see what goes on at their place of work.
Mr Davis also claimed UK animal welfare standards were ‘not good’ during a shocking interview on the BBC PM show on Radio 4 last night.
Farmers across the country were left stunned by the remarks, which were prompted by the launch of the Government’s new Food Strategy.
FARMERS: In light of @EvanHD’s shocking interview with @Minette_Batters last night, I’d be interested to hear your views on whether you think the BBC - with some honourable exceptions - is becoming anti-farming. Please RT so we can get a good sample.— Abi Kay (@FGAbiKay)
The BBC PM presenter chose to look at the strategy in the context of ‘eating less meat’, despite the terms of reference containing no reference to cutting meat consumption.
He opened the interview with Ms Batters by asking if this was the ‘next anti-smoking drive’.
“The key thing is in all the major dimensions: animal welfare, diet and health and the environment, there is a case for eating less meat than most people do,” said Mr Davis as he introduced the segment.
When challenged by Ms Batters, who told him the UK leads the world in animal welfare standards, Mr Davis replied: “They are not good, let’s be honest.
“You would not want us to go round showing pictures of what goes on in a farm would you.”
This drew an angry response from the NFU president, who said ‘she absolutely rejected that’.
“We have just had OFS where farms right across the country have opened their doors and welcomed everybody in,” she added.
“We are really proud of the standards we have in the UK and you cannot say what you have just done, I think it is extremely offensive and it is untrue.”
As a result of the backlash on Twitter, Mr Davis issued a clarification of his remarks, and said BBC PM will be ‘fact checking’ the question he asked on this evening’s programme (June 28).
Hi Minette. Just waking up to my timeline. I acknowledge that my clumsy expression gave the wrong impression that I think all animals are mis-treated. Fear not, I’ve been to farms and know that’s false. I’d never argue that, any more than you’d say all animals are well-treated.— Evan Davis (@EvanHD)
Hi Minette. Just waking up to my timeline. I acknowledge that my clumsy expression gave the wrong impression that I think all animals are mis-treated. Fear not, I've been to farms and know that's false. I'd never argue that, any more than you'd say all animals are well-treated.— Evan Davis (@EvanHD) June 28, 2019
By popular demand... on @BBCPM at 5pm, we’ll be revisiting the issue of animal welfare on British farms, and fact-checking my question yesterday to @Minette_Batters (which aroused a good deal of anger)— Evan Davis (@EvanHD)