Farmers have dismissed a campaign by Sir Paul McCartney, which encourages people to embrace a ‘Meat Free Monday’, as ‘gimmicky’ and ‘ill-informed’.

The superstar campaigner wants people to go vegetarian for one day a week because he says reducing meat consumption will help slow climate change.

He points to research showing that the livestock industry produces more harmful greenhouse gases than the transport sector (watch Channel 4’s piece about the launch below).

 

 
 
In a statement the NFU said: “Diet is a lifestyle matter, and individual choices must be respected, but this campaign has a rather gimmicky air to it.

“It greatly overstates the contribution that British livestock make to climate change, compared to, for example, transport where emissions have been rising rapidly in recent years.

“If individuals do want to have a meat-free day we urge them to do so as part of a healthy balanced diet and make sure they eat British seasonal and local fruit and vegetables.”

In a letter of response to The Independent, Northumberland farmer Aidan Harrison said the campaign had caused him to “choke on his porridge’.

“Here were a bunch of ill-informed, gas-guzzling, jet-setting “celebrities”, who probably fly more often to New York or LA than I drive my low-emissions car to the local market town, attacking what I do.

“What prize patsies they make for the coal, power and aviation industries in passing the blame for global warming from fossil fuels to the eating of beef and lamb.”

Writing on the Mouth of the Wash blog, Farmers Weekly columnist Matthew Naylor said the moderation of the campaign was clever as it was much more palatable to ask people to give meat up for one day a week only.

But he added: “The problem is that a campaign like this is likely to strike a chord with the sort of middle-class folks who buy higher-quality meat.  The kind of people who eat cheap and intensively-farmed protein from the freezer cabinets (the sort of people who wear a tracksuit even when they are not doing sport) are likely to be unmoved by the argument. 

“Their meat is normally the cheap and yucky imported stuff, I don’t see these sales being dented by the campaign.”

What do you think of the campaign? Read what others are saying on the forums and join in yourself.