The Countryside Alliance has urged famers to “scrutinise” potential councillors about their priorities for the countryside ahead of upcoming local elections in May.

Local elections take place on Thursday, May 4, 2023, in England with more than 8,000 seats being contested at 230 councils across the country.

The Countryside Alliance has said that it’s more important than ever for farmers and rural communities to turn out to vote and to vote for candidates who “understand the countryside and its communities”.

The alliance said farmers need to remain “alert” in the coming weeks, after “a string” of local councils voted to impose bans on meat and dairy.

Countryside Alliance’s parliament and government relations manager, David Bean, said: “Since last year, the targets of animal rights activists have grown beyond the customary punching bags of hunting, shooting and allied occupations to encompass livestock farming as a concept.”

The Countryside Alliance said it is concerned other authorities may follow in the footsteps of Oxfordshire City Council, who recently adopted a solely plant-based menu at their events, as well as Edinburgh City Council at its joining of the plant-based treaty.

“We urge farmers and all rural people to reserve your support for candidates who will stand up for the rural Britain and, critically, who won’t fall prey to the lure of fashionable bandwagons and easy headlines,” Bean said.

“At a time when all focus should be on supporting economic recovery and providing well-functioning local services, attacking livestock farming and food choice through initiatives such as this plant-based treaty should be well below the bottom of the to-do list.”