Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur has highlighted concerns about a recent BBC documentary, Meat: A Threat to Our Planet? which he argued gave a distorted view of the farming sector.
During First Minister’s Questions, Mr McArthur highlighted that the programme failed to make any distinction between the intensive methods of meat production in the US and South America compared to the UK, where higher environmental and animal welfare standards are applied.
In response, the First Minister said she agreed very strongly with Mr McArthur about the need to recognise the quality and work of UK farmers and that ‘lazy reporting’ shouldn’t be allowed to impugn the integrity of the sector.
Commenting after the exchange, Mr McArthur said:
“The farming sector in Scotland readily acknowledges its responsibility to continue driving up standards and reducing the environmental impacts of food production in this country. That does not mean, however, that the sector deserves no credit for what it is already achieving.
“Unfortunately, that is precisely what the recent BBC documentary managed to do. No distinction was made between the highly intensive meat production on a massive scale in North and South America and the approach taken in the UK. Not only does this do a disservice to farmers in Orkney and across the country, but it leaves the public confused and uncertain. How are they supposed to make informed decisions when presented with such a one-sided and partial depiction of how food is produced?
“UK farming leaders have been right to call out this sort of unhelpful contribution to a legitimate debate about how we tackle climate change. And I welcome the strong words of support from the First Minister this afternoon in response to my question, as well as the support I have received from colleagues across the political spectrum”.