BBC meat documentary 'is best advert' for public to buy British

Following the broadcast of the programme, British farmers were keen to highlight that not all meat is produced in the same way
Following the broadcast of the programme, British farmers were keen to highlight that not all meat is produced in the same way

Farmers are promoting the sustainability of British produced meat following a BBC documentary which looked at the environmental issues stemming from US intensive beef systems.

The documentary, entitled ‘Meat: A Threat To Our Planet?’, aimed to raise awareness of the environmental issues associated with global food production.

Specifically, it looked at how the public can continue to eat meat without harming the planet.

The programme, which aired last night (25 November), focused on farming methods in the Americas, not those followed in the UK.

Presenter Liz Bonnin travelled through the meat capital of the US, Texas, and visited an intensive beef farm.

She also visited the pig-rearing regions of North Carolina and a cattle farm in the Amazon region of Brazil.

But despite the 'alarming and misleading' title, the National Beef Association (NBA) was quick to highlight that 'not all beef is the same'.

Indeed, figures show that the carbon footprint of UK beef is 35% lower than the global average.

UK agriculture also contributes only 10% to the country's emissions, while transport and energy supply make up over 50%.

Using these figures, the NBA highlighted that there is a 'difference' between British beef and beef produced in other countries.

To help reduce carbon emissions, the group said it is 'more effective' to buy local, sustainably produced and unprocessed foods, which includes British meat.

“Beef production systems across the globe are too often portrayed the same, which is far from the truth,” said Chris Mallon, NBA national director.

“The UK is one most of the most sustainable places in the world to produce red meat because 60% of the land that makes up our agricultural landscapes is unsuitable for planting crops.

“Grazing livestock converts the naturally occurring grass into high quality protein, enabling the world’s growing population to be fed sustainably.

“Grazing livestock also acts as a fertilizer for soils, which leads to higher levels of carbon sequestration, so actually acts as a carbon sink, something that is rarely remembered,” he said.

After programme, farmers and the general public took to social media to highlight the sustainability of British-produced meat and the importance of buying local.

Stuart Roberts, NFU's vice president, said the documentary was 'the best advert' for UK-produced meat and for the government to be aware of striking trade deals with countries with lower environmental standards.

The chief executive of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Christopher Price, reminded the public that the programme focused on American beef farming, not the UK.

Livestock farmer Will Case urged the public to buy sustainable British meat following the documentary.