Farmers are becoming increasingly ‘frustrated’ at the attempts of individuals and activist groups using misinformation and inaccuracies to tarnish the industry’s good reputation, according to NFU Cymru.
NFU Cymru President John Davies made the call this week when speaking at the NFU Cymru Brecon & Radnor County Conference at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd, Mid Wales – an area synonymous with the production of world leading PGI Welsh Lamb and Beef.
As part of his address to members, the NFU Cymru President stressed that consumers should be able to make purchasing decisions based on the facts around the production of red meat and dairy, rather than being misled by the fiction cooked up by those whose agenda seeks to undermine the good reputation and high standards of the Welsh farming industry.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “Farmers respect that everybody is free to make choices about the food and drink they consume. What Welsh farmers are finding particularly frustrating during ‘Veganuary’, however, are the all too frequent reports across print, broadcast and social media that use misinformation and inaccuracies about UK farming practices, the sector’s environmental impact and the nutritional benefits of meat and dairy to influence consumers’ long-term purchasing decisions.
“The reality is that Welsh farmers are champions of some of the highest animal welfare standards that can be found anywhere in the world. Consumers purchasing Welsh produce do so in the knowledge that they are buying safe, quality and fully traceable products, while also reinvesting in these high health and welfare practices.
“Welsh farmers take their environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and continue to offer practical, workable solutions and improvements to the challenge of climate change that affects the whole of society. In Wales we are proud of our ability to turn grass, often grown in marginal areas where other crops cannot grow, into top quality PGI Welsh Lamb and Beef, as well as a wide range of dairy products. Detractors of our industry will point to the supposed detrimental environmental impact of livestock farming while choosing to ignore the powerful benefits that livestock grazing can contribute to soil restoration and carbon sequestration. Such arguments also discount the wider positive impact that livestock farms have on Wales’ iconic landscapes, biodiversity and the fabric and prosperity of our rural communities.
“Over 98% of the British public eat, drink and enjoy dairy and red meat products as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Red meat is a key source of protein and is one of the richest sources of food for iron, zinc, iodine and B vitamins. Dairy, meanwhile, is a fantastic source of calcium and vitamins that contribute to strong bones.
“Welsh farmers have always been, and will always continue to be, the advocates of a healthy, balanced diet that includes dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables. All we ask is that consumers are able to make their own individual choices based on the facts and not fiction cooked up by those whose agenda seems to be to tarnish the good name of our proud industry.”