Keep agricultural emission in perspective, says MEP

Agriculture’s contribution to climate change needs to be kept in perspective, according to a leading Conservative MEP.

Richard Ashworth, speaking at AgriLIVE Smithfield’s Big Debate, said agriculture was very much in the second division when it came to industries causing climate change. “Climate change is a threat to industry,” he told visitors to the show in Stoneleigh last week, “and we in farming have to understand we are seen as part of the problem.

“But we should not get this out of perspective. When you compare agriculture with other areas of industry, we’re very much in the second division, so it’s very misleading for Sir Paul McCartney to stand up and say ‘Give up meat to save the world’.”

He said the sector needed to fight back and start to move towards being declared a carbon-neutral industry, investing in research and development to achieve that goal.

Meanwhile, Professor David Hughes, speaking at the same debate, said that the red meat sector, particularly beef and lamb, needed to invest in encouraging consumer demand. “Over the next 10-15 years, I would expect beef and lamb consumption to be flat – or maybe even declining – in developed countries. Beef price is almost double that of pork.


"I’m trying to imagine a conversation with consumers in which you say, ‘You should eat beef and lamb because...’ and I’m not convinced that, for red meat, we have a good argument, so that’s a challenge.”

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