Climate has little effect on meat consumption says survey

Only a quarter of consumers would reduce their meat consumption if it meant cutting carbon emissions, a new survey has found.

Research by Eblex and Bpex has shown that consumers are far less worried about the effects of livestock farming and meat processing on the climate than recent media coverage would suggest. Only half of the general public are concerned about C02 emissions from animals, the survey found.

Women are more likely to reduce red meat consumption, with 31% saying they would buy less if it was proved to help the planet. Just 20% of men would do the same. "People appear to be instinctively grasping that the meat industry isn't as harmful for the environment as some make it out to be," said Eblex sector director Nick Allen.

The survey also shows that while the general public may have an awareness of environmental issues, they do not appear to be acting on them. Half of those surveyed said they were concerned about global warming, but only 12% said the climate change debate had influenced the way they buy meat.

However, there appears to be a growing perception among younger consumers of a connection between meat and the environment, with over half of people between the ages of 25-34 concerned about global warming. In a piece of good news for the UK industry, 50% of respondents said they did not want to see more imports of red meat even if that meant cutting carbon emissions.

"We've never said that animals don't produce methane, we just want people to understand that we're dealing with this and other issues," said Allen. "We're not going to say, 'It's not our problem'. We're part of the global system and we recognise our responsibilities," he added.

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