Scientists query nutritional advice
An international group of scientists has questioned the conventional nutritional advice that consumption of red meat should be reduced, claiming that there is no relationship between eating red meat and human health or deaths. A separate study from Cambridge University has also cast doubt on nutritional advice, saying that the evidence is more complex. Saturated fats from red meat and butter may cause a higher incidence of heart disease but those from cheese and yoghurt actually give some protection whilst milk has a neutral effect on human health.
Farmer support for Government plummets
Farmers Weekly conducts a poll every year to ‘take the pulse’ of the industry, including attitudes to the Government and political parties. In the latest finding, support for the Conservative Government has plummeted from 72% in 2017 and 2020 to 57% this year. Comments on the results show that farmers have lost confidence in a Government that has remarkably limited understanding of farming or rural issues and little appetite to address the undoubted and mounting problems faced by farmers and country folk.
Dispute over labour in the food chain
No one denies that a shortage of labour on farms, in abattoirs and processing plants is causing havoc in the food chain. Many thousands of pigs have been culled on farms because abattoirs cannot take them and the chaos spreads into other meats as well. But there is dispute about attempts to remedy the situation. Speaking at a NFU meeting recently, Secretary of State George Eustice blamed the processors. He said the Government had instigated a temporary visa scheme to augment the skilled worker visa scheme to attract 800 butchers from abroad but none of the big four processors had even attempted to access the schemes.
The value of hedgerows
There are 435,000 miles of hedgerow in Britain, more than the entire road network. They are incredibly rich in diverse wildlife, birds, insects, small mammals; on ecologist counted 2,070 species in an old hedgerow near his home. A study in Belgium found 30% higher species richness in hedges than in woodland. In France, President Macron has committed €50 million to establish 4,300 miles of hedgerow whilst, in this country, the Climate Change Committee has called for an increase of 40%, at least 120,000 miles.