News

WWF urges UK government to support livestock farmers

Beef Central, 18/10/2011

Livestock industry leaders in the United Kingdom have welcomed a report from the World Wildlife Fund that says Government support for British farmers and businesses is needed to ensure sustainable food production.

Online meat trade journal Meat Info UK reports that a joint paper published by the WWF and UK Food Ethics Council (FEC) states that ensuring fair deals for farmers and consumers is essential to reach a more sustainable diet.

Chris Lloyd, a spokesman for the English Beef and Sheep industry representative group Eblex, welcomed the recognition from the WWF and FEC of the view that farmers will play a pivotal role in providing sustainable food for the future, and that to do this they will need support and help.

“Too often this is overlooked,” Mr Lloyd said.

“The focus for the past 50 years has been to produce cheap and plentiful food.

“We welcome a wider debate on how much our food should cost us, and how it should be produced.

“Returning a fair price back down the supply chain is the best way to encourage farmers to invest in more efficient production, with lower consequential impact on the environment.”

National Farmers Union chief livestock adviser Peter Garbutt also told Meat Indo UK that the report was a useful contribution to the debate about the relationships between food production, consumption and the environment.

“These relationships are inherently complex, but it is clear that from producers to consumers, we all have to do our bit to address climate change.

“The livestock sector is already committed to addressing its emissions as part of the Greenhouse Gas Action Plan and focusing on how we can become more efficient, producing more with fewer resources is sensible business practice.”

The WWF and FEC paper also states that the government should encourage people to eat less meat in order to achieve a healthier and more sustainable diet.
Eblex spokesman Chris Lloyd said livestock farmers played were essential to the country’s environmental balance.

“Livestock and livestock farmers play a unique dual role as food providers and maintainers of our countryside and its rich biodiversity,” he said.

“Beef and sheep production accounts for 41.5pc of the farmed area of this country. The large majority of this is in upland areas, where cropping is not viable, or lowland areas with a specific environmental value where alternative crops would impact on the biodiversity the livestock maintain. A viable beef and sheep sector is important to ensure farmers are in place to continue this management of a countryside we want to see.”

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