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The Guardian Publishes 'Peak Meat' Article; NFU Writes in Response

17 December 2019
National Farmers Union

UK - Last week, The Guardian published an article about a warning from scientists on the need for livestock production to reach its peak by 2030 in order to tackle the climate crisis.

According to the article, the scientists are "calling for governments in all but the poorest countries to set a date for 'peak meat' because animal agriculture is a significant and fast-growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions."

In response to the article, NFU Vice-President Stuart Roberts sent a letter to The Guardian, wherein he wrote: "It is too simplistic to say that cutting livestock numbers everywhere is the most efficient way of reducing emissions, as your article Reach 'peak meat' by 2030 to tackle climate crisis suggests.

"The world’s livestock systems differ too significantly for them to be generalised, and doing so hinders the countries that are practicing sustainable farming methods and which have an ambition to do even more.

"Compared to the mass-scale intensive systems in the US or Brazil, our livestock systems are unrecognisable. British farmers do not clear rainforest to make way for beef production. Our meat does not come from the ashes of the Amazon.

"Grazing cattle is the most sustainable way to use the 65 percent of UK farmland which is unsuitable for growing any other crop. It is hugely beneficial for the soil and helps lock up carbon, and is the best way to turn inedible grass into highly nutritious protein for a growing population to enjoy.

"What’s more, British farmers have an ambition to become net zero by 2040. We have an ambition to lead the way in climate-friendly meat and dairy and pave the way for others to follow. This needs to be recognised."

You can read the full article by The Guardian by clicking here.

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