Meat debate update: Anti-meat research motives questioned

The meat industry has questioned the motives of the of the anti-meat research community, after an author of a recent critical environmental report revealed he was a vegetarian on BBC Radio.

The Aberdeen and Cambridge university research said that “greenhouse gases from food production will go up 80% if meat and dairy consumption continues to rise at its current rate”, and called for a reduction in intake.

However, a number of leading figures have jumped to the defence of the industry, emphasising the UK’s sustainability credentials. Norman Bagley, policy director at the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS), and Professor Pete Smith from the University of Aberdeen, one of the authors of the report, debated the subject on the BBC World Service, with the latter declaring he was a vegetarian towards the end of the broadcast. This has led to obvious question marks over the objectivity of those behind such pieces of research.

Eblex sector director Nick Allen said: “It is good that this came out in the interview. Only 3% of the population in the UK are vegetarians, but taking into the amount of anti-meat eating reports that come out, I do wonder if that figure is higher among the research community.”

Bagley dismissed the research on the World Service: “If the whole of the nation stopped eating meat, it wouldn’t make a scrap of difference to global emissions anyway.”

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