Shadow agriculture minister John Cobb has joined a growing chorus of criticism of consumer watchdog, Choice over its recent critique of the beef industry, suggesting the body is pushing a ‘green agenda’ rather than delivering fact-based information to consumers.
“Choice’s recent report that labelled grainfed beef as unethical has compromised this once respected organisation and exposed it as just another agenda driven group fighting for the limelight,” Mr Cobb said in a statement.
“It is a sad day for consumers when an organisation built on delivering impartial, factual analysis on consumer products evolves into a marginal activist organisation intent on pushing the public agenda with biased and subjective material,” he said.
“What really concerns me about these types of activist organisations is that they mislead the public by pushing particular issues in isolation.”
“The fact is by 2050 there will be nine billion people on the planet and if we were to meet the global food requirements without such innovations as the lotfeeding industry we would have to massively increase our impact on the environment and clear more land and native forests to achieve this,” Mr Cobb said.
“The silly thing is these same groups then contradict this view by arguing we need to cut our farming area and create more national parks to look after the environment and that we also need to do more to feed the masses internationally.”
Mr Cobb said he had raised cattle for most of his life and watched the transformation of the beef industry by the emergence of the feedlot sector.
“Feedlots have been a massive improvement in our industry. The controlled environment of feedlots has allowed better monitoring and has led to improvements for animal health and in animal handling,” he said.
“There is a definite link between improved animal health and increased quality and productivity and the improvements in productivity from feedlots has been fantastic for an industry constantly facing increased costs and regulation that was threatening its viability.”
If Choice continued down this path it would increasingly be seen by the public as an agenda-driven organisation with decreasing relevance, Mr Cobb warned.
· Read Beef Central’s earlier articles on Choice’s report on the beef supply chain: “Consumer watchdog Choice casts a critical eye over beef supply chain,” and “Lotfeeders take Choice to task over beef supply chain claims.”
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