NFU man hits back at Br adshaw

Deputy president of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) Meurig Raymond, has hit out at environment minister Ben Bradshaw over comments that food production is damaging the environment so much, we might need to return to rationing.

Meurig Raymond first spoke out at the MLC Outlook conference on 31 January and told MTJ: "I was quite outraged when I picked up on those comments. There is an issue around carbon emissions and climate change, but it is a global issue and not just a UK issue and to single out the UK livestock industry was grossly unfair for a minister [to do] in my opinion."

Bradshaw's comments emerged last week during a discussion about sustainability and the environment. He said food production does as much damage as cars and housing. "If the impacts of climate change are as bad as predicted, we may need to go back to rationing," he said. "I do not think one should underestimate the speed at which developments are going to take place on climate change when we get enough political consensus."

His comments have been linked with a new government website called the Greener Guide to Living, which states: "The production of meat and dairy products has a much bigger effect on climate change and other environmental impacts than that of most grains, pulses and

outdoor fruit and vegetables."

Raymond hit back: "I believe we do not wish to belong to a nanny state. I think the majority of the population wants to be able to choose their diet.

"We've seen an increase in red meat consumption so let's look at solutions, rather than trying to deny society the food of

its choice."

A Defra spokesperson said: "We are not, by any means, telling people to cut out meat; this would be a personal decision. We are giving them the facts.

"We welcome the positive response of the NFU, and others in the industry, who recognise the threats posed by climate change and the potential to contribute

to being part of the solution through, for example, the deve-lopment of anaerobic digestion, that is using farm waste as a

renewable fuel source."

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