Farmers have criticised the CBBC television programme Blue Peter for asking children to become “climate heroes” by reducing meat consumption and choosing plant-based meals.
The “climate heroes challenge” asks viewers to complete a two-week pledge to switch off lights, reduce plastic use and plant flowers to attract pollinators, to earn a green Blue Peter badge.
Children can then earn a “climate heroes certificate” by completing a “supersized pledge” for two weeks as a group, with either their school class or after-school club.
To earn this they must either swap to a vegetarian meal, switch off all lights and devices when leaving the classroom or building, or swap disposable plastic bottles for reusable water bottles.
But the challenge has been criticised by farmers for overlooking the benefits and environmental credentials of British meat raised on grass-based livestock systems.
The BBC page has since been updated to acknowledge the benefits of grass-fed meat.
Welsh farmer Gareth Wyn Jones said the long-running show had a duty to give children the chance to make an educated choice, with “millions of young minds listening”.
What I think about Blue Peters Green badge climate heroes campaignhttps://t.co/iznnk25Tlw
— Gareth Wyn Jones (@1GarethWynJones) April 6, 2021
In a video on Twitter, Mr Wyn Jones said: “There is so much to food production that they are not being told.
“Grass can be produced very easily, in marginal lands, lands that you couldn’t grow crops. This land will produce some of the top-quality proteins, and that is beef and lamb.
“It is done in a sustainable, regenerative and very environmentally friendly way. Why aren’t we telling our children this? My kids know it.
“Show them the facts, give them the opportunity to make that decision. These children aren’t stupid. Give them an educated choice, not just one sweeping statement that doesn’t work.
“We need to make sure we are talking to our children about seasonal food, locally produced food, environmentally friendly food, regenerative agriculture.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “We are not asking Blue Peter viewers to give up meat.
“That will be made clear both on the show and on our website which has been updated to reflect that buying seasonal food or local grass-fed meat can also make a difference to climate change.
“There are also other pledge options to choose from to earn a green badge such as switching off lights or using reusable water bottles.”
The show will air a video next week in which Blue Peter presenter Richie Driss visits a family in Wales to learn about their sustainable farming.