BBC criticised for meat consumption remark
The BBC has been criticised for remarks made in an online article it published in which it was said that the “single biggest way” for a person to reduce their environmental impact is to eat less meat.
The article drew the ire of the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), a body similar to Teagasc.
Jane King, the chief executive of the AHDB, wrote a letter to a digital editor with the BBC’s online news team, in which she expressed her dismay at the article.
The article links to two studies to back up the argument: ‘Special Report on Climate Change and Land’ by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and ‘Reducing food’s environmental impact through producers and consumers’ by Oxford University.
However, the AHDB argues that those two studies do not explicitly support the case for eating less meat.
“I question whether the evidence exists to substantiate this claim, and would ask you to review and share the data provided by the source, in order to ensure accuracy,” the AHDB letter said.
The AHDB said that these figures “suggest that structural changes to the transport and energy sectors would have a much more substantial impact on lowering our GHG [greenhouse gas] impact”.
The agricultural body argued that the BBC article “draws an unsubstantiated conclusion from the available evidence”.
“Furthermore, assessing the environment impact of livestock production on GHG emissions alone is extremely simplistic…as the positive impact grazing lands have on: carbon sequestration; biodiversity; providing habitats and food source for wildlife; all while utilising the swathes of agricultural land unsuitable for cropping, are largely overlooked,” the AHDB added.