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MP urges consumers to choose high welfare UK produce

11th March 2020

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin urged consumers to opt for high welfare British produce to reduce the impact on global climate change.

Low welfare beef is reared intensely on food lots in countries like Brazil where half of the land for production used to be rainforest. Brazilian farmers also grow soya beans on the land reclaimed from the burnt rainforests.

But Harriett suggested to climate change experts giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee yesterday, that the environmental impact of farm produce could be reduced by choosing higher welfare, grass-fed produce rather than just abandoning red meat.

Lord Adair Turner said in his evidence to the committee: ‘It doesn’t mean that people have to give up red meat, but I think the way forward is smaller consumption of red meat, but when you consume red meat, have high-quality, organic, low environmental impact produce’.

Harriett, who represents a rural farming constituency, made the comments following a discussion with local farmers about the impact of low-welfare meat products on the UK agricultural economy.

Harriett commented: “Having had long conversations with local farmers I was keen to make the point that people don’t need to give up red meat completely but we do need to make sure that we buy our meat from better sources where the animals are reared well and the way in which they are reared has a positive impact on the environment.

“Intensive beef farming in Brazil is having a major impact on climate change with the rising levels of methane seriously impacting the environment. We need to buy smartly and make sure we support and reward farmers who rear their local produce responsibly.

“I do accept that individuals can make choices in their diet, and their everyday lives that can cut carbon emissions, and I welcome every effort which leads to meaningful progress towards our important net zero carbon emission targets in 2050.

Jake Freestone, Farm Manager at Overbury Farm, added: “Farm Assured, grass fed, high welfare, local red meat production, be it beef or lamb, has the potential to reduce global warming by locking carbon in the soil.

“Professor Myles Allen, of Oxford University states that methane is short lived in the atmosphere, unlike carbon dioxide, and is part of the natural carbon cycle.

“UK red meat production can be part of the climate change solution and be part of a nutrient rich balanced diet.”

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