NFU: industry must wrest back green agenda

The benefits of meat to the environment needs to be better communicated to the British public, according to NFU livestock chairman Alistair Mackintosh.

"We need to be leading the PR agenda, not always reacting to it," Mackintosh told the NFU conference.

"At the moment we're always open to some crackpot coming up with ideas like 'meat-free Mondays', but we need to set some ground rules."

Mackintosh suggested promoting the benefits of livestock farming be promoted from the following points of view:

* Grassland absorbs significantly more carbon than cattle grazing on grassland produce.

* The upland landscapes of the UK are maintained in their natural beauty and biodiversity thanks to livestock farming.

* Farmers are providing food for a rapidly growing population.

"The public don't fully understand what we offer," Mackintosh said, "and we're in danger of the whole argument drifting away from us. We have to champion the benefits of what we do."

The NFU has devised a carbon calculator on its website to enable farmers to approximate the amount of carbon they are currently producing.

>> NFU slams McCartney's meat-free Mondays

>> PTF chairman wary of anti-meat argument

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