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The National Farmers Union (NFU) has lashed out at the BBC for airing a documentary series about veganism – and is calling for its members to complain to the broadcaster.
Veganville follows five vegans as they go to Welsh town Merthyr Tydfil and tell locals who profit from animal agriculture about the advantages of switching to a vegan lifestyle. Activist Joey Carbstrong stars.
NFU Cymru has blasted the positive portrayal of veganism – calling the show ‘another example of unbalanced and disproportionate reporting of veganism’.
“It is frustrating that once again a BBC-commissioned programme is acting as a promotional tool for a specific campaign representing only a tiny minority of people,” NFU Cymru President John Davies said in a statement.
“A number of claims are made during the Veganville series that are false – not least that the best thing a person could do for the environment would be to immediately turn vegan. NFU Cymru was asked to contribute to the program, but our dairy farmer featured in less than 6 minutes of over 2 hours and 18 minutes of total airtime while other contributions from the farming industry amounted to short and sporadic soundbites. This is hardly balanced.
“The Veganville series did, conversely, highlight once again that there is a huge amount of public support for red meat and dairy products so it is strange, therefore, that the BBC persists with this agenda of providing so much airtime to this issue.”
He added: “The truth of the matter is that red meat and dairy products have an integral role to play in a healthy, balanced diet and remain a staple part of many UK consumers’ dietary choices. Consumers can continue to have confidence that food produced by hard-working UK farmers is produced to some of the highest animal welfare and environmentally sustainable standards in the world.
“NFU Cymru has submitted a letter of complaint to the commissioning editor of the programme at the BBC about the lack of balance in this piece.
“Once again, NFU Cymru is encouraging its members to submit an official complaint via the BBC website if they feel any of its programmes covering food and farming lack the balance that we would expect from our national broadcaster.”
The NFU has a history of lashing out at media which does not support a pro meat and dairy agenda.
Last year, it made headlines when it complained about a Tesco advert for vegan sausages, saying the ad – which featured a young girl saying she didn’t want to eat animals – ‘demonized farmers’.
A 2018 BBC documentary called The Dark Side of Dairy, which featured a dairy farmer break down in tears as he admitted that some mother cows cry for days when their calves are taken away, was branded ‘sensationalized and inaccurate’ by the organization.
Joey Carbstrong, who appears in Veganville, described the NFU’s statement as ‘desperate’.
“This is just such a desperate move from the NFU,” Joey Carbstrong told Plant Based News. “The public isn’t stupid, and people can make up their own minds based on research and evidence.
“How dare these people try to sell us their products as high welfare, when we know what happens in slaughterhouses? This propaganda is falling to pieces – whenever they push this agenda, we pushback harder because truth will shatter their lies to pieces.
“Meat and dairy farmers rely on their own advertisement of their products but we are showing people the truth. There is enough pro-farming material out there – on TV, in schools, so obviously they want to get their mitts into this too.”
Veganville airs on BBC 3 every Tuesday night at 10:35 pm.