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UK livestock farmers are worried about the growth of veganism, according to a feature published by the Financial Times (FT).

The article claims farmers are ‘obsessing’ over veganism – citing their financial struggles (due in part to the growing flexitarian movement) as a major factor.

In addition, farmers disagree with a 2018 Oxford University report, which concluded that ‘avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet’. They say ‘domestically produced, grass-fed beef has a lower carbon footprint than meat produced elsewhere’.

‘Being challenged’

According to the FT: “There is a feeling among British livestock farmers that their way of life and businesses are being challenged as veganism wins adherents: they account for only 1 per cent of the British population but their ranks have quadrupled in the last five years, according to the Vegan Society.

“Nearly a dozen farmers who spoke to the FT described being both repelled and fascinated by the lifestyle whose followers eschew all products derived from animals, from meat to leather…

“They are also particularly irked by how the still-niche movement has influenced people worried about global warming, leading many to see Britain’s sheep and cows as little more than a dangerous source of emissions, rather than as an important part of nature and the rural economy.”

‘Unanimous advice’

Speaking previously to Plant Based News about meat industry pushback to veganism – including claims that vegans peddle misinformation, Toni Vernelli, head of communications and marketing international at Veganuary, said: “We simply quote the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and researchers at the University of Oxford who are unanimous in their advice that a plant-based diet can help fight climate change.

“Unlike the meat industry, we have no vested interest in misleading the public as we gain no personal benefit from the increased adoption of a vegan diet – other than the shared benefit of slowing the growing climate catastrophe which is vital for the survival of every species on the planet.

“It’s a shame the meat industry is so selfish and short-sighted, concerned only with short-term profits rather than moving towards a sustainable food system that they could be a part of if they were just willing to innovate.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.