Once upon a time, there was a company called Drings, that produced a widely-advertised sausage, under the slogan “They’re Mighty Meaty Matey”. I think there might even have been a bit about “…slap ’em on your platey”, but I could be imagining that bit. What I didn’t imagine was that extraordinarily slanted piece of gratuitous vegan propaganda put out last week by the BBC.
To stop me frothing at the mouth, here is the text of the Countryside Alliance CEO’s, Tim Bonner, latest missive which makes their view clear.
It is lucky for the BBC that there is a General Election going on otherwise the criticism of last week’s BBC One documentary ‘Meat: A Threat To Our Planet?’ would be on the front pages of newspapers rather than tucked away inside. That criticism is entirely justified when the British state broadcaster ran a 60 minute ‘documentary’ on meat production entirely focused on the impact of farming systems in North and South America without any consideration of the entirely different systems used for British meat production. The programme was a straightforward attack on meat-eating based on claims that meat production contributes to global warming through carbon emissions. It made no differentiation between the industrial farming systems in the US and Brazil, which it visited, and mainly grass-fed systems in Britain, which it did not. The documentary makers even cut a section in which the benefits of British grazing systems were explained. Such omissions can only be described as irresponsible and are more than just unfortunate. The beef industry is already facing a difficult period and a programme which actively seeks to drive down demand for all beef production regardless of how it is produced will have a real impact on the lives of British farmers. Meanwhile, the BBC is failing viewers by not explaining the benefits of sourcing local grass reared meat with high welfare standards and a low carbon footprint.
Right on the heels of this assault on beef farmers, the BBC launched its BBC One Christmas trailer, which for reasons only it can explain, featured a nut roast and a turkey in an ‘I Love Vegans’ t-shirt. I assume the creators will claim that it is just a bit of fun and is representative of modern society, but the reality is that 75% of us will tuck into a turkey on Christmas Day and the majority of the rest will dine on alternative meat. The choice to be a vegan or vegetarian is a perfectly valid one, but it is a choice most of us do not make. Why the BBC is so keen to attack the diet that most of us choose to eat it must explain, but whether it is in a 60-minute documentary, or a 60-second trailer the BBC’s attack on meat-eating is disproportionate and disingenuous.
I take no issue with anyone choosing to eat their own toe-nails, entire bicycles, deeply poisonous fish, or any of the other myriad things that Guinness Records and whacky TV programmes suggest happens around the world. I think people should eat what they want when they want and without the fear of being vilified or attacked by some vitamin starved, bad breathed, ill-mannered oik, who doesn’t have the bottle to tell a Chinese Pork farmer or a Brazilian cattle rancher, why they’re so wrong.
Where I do get quite humpy, however, is when the principal public broadcast service brings its own, minority, metro-centric agenda to the airwaves. This particular piece of slanted, derogatory, broadcasting was however just an exemplar of the current trend. The nightly attacks on both TV and Radio, are by no means limited to carnivores but are also applied to Trump, Brexiteers, posh accents, rich people, old people, patriots, conservatives and anyone who finds ISIHAC funny. The BBC is happy to take the licence fee from 100% of the UK’s demographic profile (and 95% of all households) – but it spends an inordinate amount of time and our money alienating more than 50% of us.
The quicker the BBC is privatised, the better.