The UK’s Labour spokesperson on agriculture has said that meat eaters should be treated like smokers.

Kerry McCarthy is the Labour Party‘s new shadow hadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – the UK dropped the word agriculture from the department’s title a number of years ago.

With Labour now being led by Jeremy Corbyn, his appointment of McCarthy to the post has caused consternation among the farming community in the UK.

McCarthy is a vegan for the past 20 years and she recently told vegan magazine Viva!life that a public campaign, similar to that of tobacco, should be run to encourage people to stop eating meat.

“I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it.

“Progress on animal welfare is being made at EU level… but in the end it comes down to not eating meat or dairy.

“The constant challenging of the environmental impact of livestock farming is making me more and more militant.”

McCarthy has previously said she is a “militant” vegetarian and that the only way to improve animal welfare if for people to stop eating dairy and meat.

The food and farming industry employs more than 3.8m people in the UK and agriculture contributed nearly £10billion to the economy between 2008 and 2014.