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NFU leader hits out at 'imbalanced' reporting discouraging people from eating red meat

PUBLISHED: 08:14 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:47 19 September 2019

Clacton MP Giles Watling, right, visits National Farmers' Union (NFU) deputy president Guy Smith and his sister, Penny Smith, who runs the family's farm educational attraction, Hastys Adventure Farm    Picture: GUY SMITH

Clacton MP Giles Watling, right, visits National Farmers' Union (NFU) deputy president Guy Smith and his sister, Penny Smith, who runs the family's farm educational attraction, Hastys Adventure Farm Picture: GUY SMITH

Guy Smith

Under pressure UK beef farmers haven't been helped by "selective and distorting" stories about turning to vegetable-based diets because of climate change, a farmers' leader says.

National Farmers' Union (NFU) deputy president Guy Smith said consumers ought to be encouraged to buy local, sustainably-produced meat as he called for "more balanced reporting" on the issue.

Mr Smith, who farms at St Osyth, near Clacton, met with Clacton MP Giles Watling - who sits on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee.

They talked about what Mr Smith described as "imbalanced" reporting of red meat's impact on climate change, concerns about beef prices and other problems besetting farmers, including future trade deals, no deal fears and climate change.

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"Beef farmers are having a tough time at the moment with low prices and this really isn't helped by selective and distorting stories in the media discouraging people from eating red meat because of climate change," said Mr Smith.

"What the media ought to be doing is encouraging consumers concerned about their carbon footprint to source their meat locally and sustainably from farms where beef animals mainly graze. We need more balanced reporting on this.

"As Giles sits on the DCMS select committee which has some oversight on inaccurate media reporting we were keen to make that point.

"It was great to have my local MP out on farm - after a heavy week in parliament he seemed pleased to be getting some fresh air. We discussed some local issues such as hare coursing and fly-tipping but also some national ones such as E10 (bioethanol fuel made partly from wheat or sugar beet as well as petrol) and beef prices."



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