LABOUR SAYS MEAT EATERS SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE SMOKERS

DEFRAs Kelly McCarthy speaking at protest rally in Westminster

Rural Affairs MSP Angus MacDonald calls for Scottish Labour to distance itself from Westminster Spokesperson

Angus MacDonald, the MSP for Falkirk East and member of Holyrood's committee on Rural Affairs, Climate Change and the Environment, has called on Scottish Labour to distance itself from comments made by Shadow DEFRA Secretary, Kerry McCarthy MP.

In a surprising statement, Ms. McCarthy, pictured above speaking at a rally in Westminster, has said that meat eaters should be targeted with campaigns similar to those against smoking in order to encourage them to become vegetarian. When interviewed by the vegan magazine Viva!Life, the Shadow Secretary is reported to have said, "I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it."

Responding with a letter to Labour’s Holyrood Environment spokesperson Sarah Boyack, Mr. MacDonald - himself formerly a farmer and auctioneer - highlighted the importance of the livestock sector to Scotland’s economy.

Angus MacDonald MSP on Whitecross farmland by Manuel Junction and Campbells Factory SMALLEST

Angus MacDonald, pictured above in the farmland by the Campbells meat processing plant at Whitecross in his constituency, said, “For Labour’s shadow environment secretary to say that meat eaters should be treated like smokers and targeted with campaigns to encourage them to become vegetarian is extraordinary."

"The livestock sector is crucial to Scottish agriculture, accounting for around 60% of output and valued at £1.7bn to our economy each year, with over 28,000 people working on holdings with beef cattle."

Scottish beef cattle grazing - Copy

"In addition, the sector supports food manufacturing, with turnover from meat industries valued at around £1.2bn per annum and supporting around 6,000 jobs in the Scottish economy."

"Meat exports from Scotland were worth around £63m to the country's economy in 2014."

Packets of lamb leg steaks and chops at Love Scotch Lamb weekend at Aldi Camelon - SMALL

"Given that around 85% of agricultural land is naturally constrained, livestock production is the only viable agricultural use in many parts of Scotland, supporting thousands of jobs in remote rural areas."

"Scottish Labour must distance themselves from the comments by their frontbench spokesperson and get behind Scottish farmers and support them."

Angus MacDonald MSP supporting local Forth Valley sheep producers for Love Scotch Lamb weekend at Aldi Camelon SMALLEST - for Website

Mr. MacDonald concluded his statement by saying, "It is worth noting that in Scotland we have some of highest animal welfare standards and grass fed systems that mean production is more efficient with regard to climate change. This helps to produce the best quality meat in the world."

Feeding and taking care of cattle - SMALL

Notes:

Details of Kerry McCarthy’s comments can be found at the following link: https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/2507/labour-spokesperson-meat-eaters-should-be-treated-like-smokers

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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