The NFU says claims that people should reduce their meat intake to help the climate is ‘incredibly frustrating’. It has reiterated that its ambition to become net zero by 2040 will mean no ‘downsizing’ of agricultural production.
It has responded to the IPCC’s global report into land use and its impact on the climate. NFU President Minette Batters said: “Having gone through the report in detail, it is clear that the IPCC recognises the important role animal products play in a balanced diet, and when produced sustainably in low greenhouse gas emission systems are actually part of the solution to climate change.
“It is therefore incredibly frustrating to see this inflated within some part of the media to recommending a reduction of meat consumption in the UK.
“I take this opportunity to reiterate that our aspiration to become net zero – reducing our greenhouse gas footprint and offsetting emissions – by 2040 does not mean downsizing agricultural production. This would only export our production to countries which may not have the same standards of environmental protection.”
The NFU’s plan for achieving its net zero goal is focused on making the most of our natural resources.
Ms Batters pointed out: “With 65 per cent of UK farmland best suited to growing grass, this means using our grasslands, which are also a huge store of carbon, to produce high quality beef and lamb.
“British farmers are determined to continue reducing methane emissions through a variety of methods, including dietary changes and breeding techniques. Alongside this, we are also looking for ways to continue to improve soil health and increase organic matter within our soils, which is one of our greatest assets.”
The NFU says ‘we are already seeing the impacts of climate change’. It points out the report is ‘encouraging’ because it recognises the threat the climate poses on food security.
“We now need to see government policies that will support the farming industry in delivering on its net zero ambition,” added Ms Batters.