The Countryside Alliance has slammed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for encouraging the Royal Highland Show to only promote plant-based produce.
It called it an attempt to “ravage personal freedom”.
The Royal Highland Show, which will take place from June 22-25, is an annual event held in Ingliston, Edinburgh and aims to showcase the best of food, farming and rural life.
PETA said that the show involves over “6,500 non-consenting animals who are marched, tied-up, pulled around and roughly handled”, and called for the event’s organisers to facilitate a transition to a vegan event – the Royal Highland Grow.
However, Mo Metcalf-Fisher of the Countryside Alliance has said that the suggestions from PETA would be “better off ignored” by the Royal Highland Show, as the group are “notorious attention seekers”.
“While any event may wish to offer a range of catering options, including vegetarian and plant-based, no one should be limiting the dietary preferences of the vast bulk of the UK population or browbeaten into removing it,” he said.
“Red meat produced in Britain is among the most sustainable in the world.
“Ruling out livestock farming would not only remove several major food sources and ravage personal freedom, but would blight Scottish agriculture and its dependents as a whole.”
PETA said the transition to a vegan event would benefit the UK’s arable and horticultural farmers and help protect the environment, as well as protecting animals.
“Sheep are pinned down in terror and shorn as fast as possible, baby ducks are grabbed by children, birds of prey are tethered by the legs, bulls are paraded around by ropes attached to painful nose rings, and horses are forced to compete in dangerous show jumping,” the group said.
“A vegan event, in contrast, could feature fun, family-friendly activities such as a vegan haggis–eating contest, a turnip beauty pageant, and a potato-sculpting competition.
“Instead of outdated cow parades, cruel sheep shearing, and food that has been cut or expelled from an animal’s body, the new Royal Highland Grow can celebrate Scotland’s hard-working plant-based farmers and delicious, locally produced vegan fare.”