And criticism from welfare campaigners – among others – is neglecting sheep farming’s joined-up working with the environment.
Industry bods are making a stand against Veganuary and its ‘false claim of crimes’ to set the record straight on the red meat sector.
The misguided and misleading campaign, in the National Sheep Association’s (NSA) own words, was damaging against animal welfare, the environment and human health, and criticism from welfare campaigners – among others – was neglecting sheep farming’s joined-up working with the environment.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “Make no doubt about it, behind the positive messages about Veganuary lies a well co-ordinated campaign against livestock farming.
“Our concern is that our unique grass-based method of sheep production in Britain is hidden within more global and general statistics.
“We are seeing criticisms from welfare campaigners, rewilders, climate change campaigners, and health campaigners – but all these are connected and ignore the fact that UK sheep farming works very much in harmony with our environment, our landscapes, and our human ecology – creating a countryside the majority of the public love and producing a food product that is healthy and nutritious within a balanced diet.”
The climate change arguments that have been buoyed by the recent Paris Climate Change Summit ignore the fact that red meat from livestock that is part of a grass-based system is different from that raised in feedlots and in intensive situations, Mr Stocker said.
He continued: “Even more misleading is that the carbon footprinting tools we use do not take account of whole life cycles and ignore the role of grasslands and grazing animals in storing carbon and organic matter in our soils and even in the wool they produce.
“I would go as far to suggest that ‘organic greenhouse gas cycling’ from grazed livestock should be treated separately from gas emissions derived from fossil fuels.
“Some people seem hell bent on portraying sheep as a global enemy, but in fact they are the ultimate in renewable technology and are an efficient form of productive land management that is planet friendly.”