Eating red meat sourced from Scotland is good for your health.
That’s the view of Quality Meat Scotland and the Institute for Global Food Security, who also cite the nation’s farming and geography as helping the environment, rather than damaging it.
Their statements come after a Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Report.
Kate Rowell, chair of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) said that as well as earning a global reputation for its outstanding taste, quality assured Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb has an exceptionally strong story to tell in terms of sustainability and animal welfare.
She explained: ‘The geography of Scotland means that over 80% of Scottish farmland is comprised of grass and rough grazing which is not suitable for growing fruit, cereals and vegetables but ideal for producing top quality beef and lamb using one of our country’s greatest natural assets – grass.
‘This grass also plays an important carbon capture role and sets us apart from other parts of the world where animals are intensively fed on cereals year-round.’
The Scots, she said, were global pioneers in developing quality assurance for beef, lamb and pork and this makes animal health and welfare a priority in an industry which supports 50,000 jobs, many in more fragile rural areas, and contributes more than £2 billion to Scotland’s economy.
She also flagged the importance of red meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Kate added: ‘Independent dietitians and nutritionists without a vegetarian agenda are consistently clear on the importance of red meat in a healthy diet as an excellent natural source of protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins and essential amino acids. It is also sugar and salt free – unlike many of the meat-free products appearing on the shelves.’
Nigel Scollan, director of the Institute for Global Food Security and member of the Meat Advisory Panel said: ‘Suggesting that people should stop or cut down on the amount of red meat they consume is not the answer to solving the UK’s high level of carbon emissions.
‘Arable and livestock farming are intrinsically linked. The animals plays a vital role in growing crops effectively and sustainably, as manure enriches the soil with nutrients to help grow.
‘Without livestock we would increase our reliance on chemical fertilisers, which are produced by using non-renewable energy therefore, further contributing to our carbon footprint.
‘When looking at the environmental impact of products in the UK, livestock is not top of the emissions list. We are in danger of being distracted from other factors such as the carbon monoxide produced by cars or the importing of goods from abroad.
‘This latest report should not deter people from eating red meat. In the UK, reducing consumption levels will have little impact on the environment and is potentially damaging to people’s health, with many missing out on vital nutrients such as zinc and iron. Red meat should continue to be enjoyed as part of any healthy, balanced diet.’