The Countryside Alliance has called for two councils to retract their public support for vegan diets, in a bid to support local farmers instead.
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council have both recently released campaigns that encourage people to adopt a vegan diet, in an effort to tackle climate change.
In a statement published on January 4, Tameside Council urged residents to partake in ‘veganuary’, a challenge in which individuals follow an exclusively vegan diet for the month of January.
The statement reads: “By switching to a plant-based diet, it will reduce large amounts of air, soil and water pollution, and cut the need to use a great number of natural resources that it takes to provide meat and fish to the population.
“Additionally, it is proven that participants in veganuary have experienced a number of health benefits too, such as: increased energy; improved mood; lower cholesterol; lower chances of developing heart disease; type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”
A YouGov survey from last January (2023), showed that 4% of UK respondents reported participating in veganuary.
Similarly, Warwickshire County Council is calling for residents to commit to a number of ‘green pledges’ in a bid to encourage them to make environmentally friendly new years resolutions.
The council insists that making changes in the diet “can be achieved through a reduction in the amount of red meat that is eaten, or by adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet, which are both more sustainable and better for the environment”.
The Countryside Alliance has spoken out against the encouragement of vegetarian/vegan diets, and has been leading a ‘rural fightback’ in the hopes of encouraging residents and councils to show support to local farmers.
Sabina Roberts, a spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance, said:
“British farmers are part of the solution to climate change, not part of the problem. The UK agricultural sector is pioneering regenerative farming techniques that reduce emissions and increase biodiversity.
“It is disappointing to see councils ignoring these efforts and regurgitating lazy claim.
“Tameside and Warwickshire Councils should be using their platforms to promote local meat, dairy, and vegetable produce – rather than spreading tenuous claims about the benefits of plant-based diets or encouraging any one diet for their residents.”