Meat industry targets militant vegans and ‘food fake news’

Japan drops ban and opens market to British beef and lamb
Credit: Salvador Aznar

It should come as no surprise that militant vegans and the meat industry are often at loggerheads and now the latter is hitting back at “food fake news” on social media propagated, it says, by radical vegans and vegetarians.

So says Kevin Roberts, Chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), speaking recently at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

“I’m sure you’ve heard and read it all: for instance, eating less red meat will somehow save the planet,” he said, challenging the idea that decreasing meat consumption will help slash carbon emissions.

“Well, here are the real facts. Wales has 1.8 million hectares of agricultural land. 89% of that is permanent pasture and much of this land is unsuitable for other food production. Producing quality meat the ‘Welsh Way’ – by non-intensive, mixed grazing – enables a vibrant, bio-diverse and beautiful landscape.”

Although his arguments were made on behalf of the entire meat industry, Mr Roberts had a particular bug bear with what he called “sensationalist” and “misleading” health claims lobbied at red meat.

“The real facts and the latest science are inconvenient for the radical wings of the vegetarian and vegan lobbies. They cobble together assumptions based on often partial research and blend incompatible statistical correlation with meat consumption figures that are often far higher than the average UK intake.”

With that in mind, HCC said it is doubling down its efforts to “educate and enlighten” working with health professionals and food commentators. According to a company release, it will endeavour to “put the true facts forward”.

However, with both sides claiming to “have the facts” and the backing of scientific research on their side, discerning can be a difficult task for consumers.