Farming News - NSA disappointed by ‘Apocalypse Cow’ as yet another anti- farming programme is aired

NSA disappointed by ‘Apocalypse Cow’ as yet another anti- farming programme is aired

09 Jan 2020
Frontdesk / Livestock

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is criticising Channel 4 for its lack of balance and accuracy when portraying UK farming systems in last nights programme ‘Apocalypse Cow’.

The Channel 4 documentary presented by George Monbiot ( pictured) set out radical food production alternatives amid claims that 'Meat Killed The Planet'.

Livestock grazing is an inefficient way of producing food, believes Mr Monbiot

The industry will be replaced by new food production systems that will “still feed 10bn people and bring the natural world back from the point of collapse”, according to Mr Monbiot.

Meat consumption, he said, posed a bigger threat to the environment than fossil fuels or plastic.

Animal grazing is a disaster, said the environmentalist. It uses twice as much land as all the world’s crops but produces just 1% of our food, he claimed.

“We cut down trees that suck in atmospheric carbon and replace them with animals responsible for generating vast quantities of greenhouse gases,” he said.

“And we’re blind to the problem: some of what we think are Britain’s most beautiful landscapes, such as the Lake District, are treeless, sheep-wrecked deserts.”

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker commented: “NSA is really disappointed by the programme ‘Apocalypse Cow’ shown on Channel 4’s last night, and the way sheep farming was denigrated. There was no opportunity for the British sheep industry to balance the debate and present the opposing view. NSA stands by its point that sheep farming is one of the most sustainable ways of food production and produces quality meat and fibre from little more than vegetation, mostly grown by sunlight rain and soil nutrients, whilst also providing a beautiful countryside for the British people to enjoy. While it’s not widely recognised at this point, sheep farming is an ultimate form of renewable technology and NSA is very disappointed this was not reflected in this programme.”

NFU president Minette Batters said: “It took two world wars to realise the error of not being able to produce enough food for our island nation.”

Critics also claim that UK food production deficits will need to be plugged by imports – in effect off-shoring Britain’s environmental footprint.

Welsh farming will shortly launch a marketing blitz that aims to pre-empt “ill-informed anti-farming” messages in the annual Veganuary campaign.

The £250,000 initiative, across TV and social media platforms, will spell out the “Welsh Way” of livestock production – one with a relatively small environmental footprint.

The meat industry is determined to get on the front foot and fight back against what it sees as the demonisation of livestock farming by environmentalists and some parts of the media.

Many are still smarting from the BBC documentary Meat: A Threat To Our Planet? which focused on intensive farming methods in north and south America without distinguishing them from UK practices.

In their New Year messages, Welsh farm leaders all highlighted concerns over the rise of vegan “propaganda”.

NFU Cymru president John Davies insisted the union will “not accept” fake anti-farming news.

“We are prepared to escalate our actions if required,” he warned.