British farmers should reduce meat and dairy output by 1/3 to save climate

A new World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report has outlined the steps the UK’s agricultural sector needs to take to combat emissions and loss of habitat.

The environmental charity’s recommendations must be implemented in the next 10 years in order to meet current scientific advice on limiting greenhouse emissions. Pork and poultry livestock may need to be cut back most, and consumers must eat significantly less meat overall. 

herd of dairy cattles on field

If these steps are taken, greenhouse gas emissions would fall, nature would begin to flourish again in the countryside, and the population’s health would improve. 

‘If we are serious about tackling the twin threats of climate change and nature loss, farming and land use can’t be an afterthought,’ said Tanya Steele, WWF’s Chief Executive. ‘Many UK farmers are already using their skills and expertise to produce food as sustainably as possible, but they won’t be able to fix a broken system on their own.’

Elsewhere, around 1/5 of soy imports used for animal feed in the UK will need to be cut, with production of the legume directly linked to deforestation and the overuse of fertilisers in territories where it is grown. Meanwhile, ammonia released into the air from animal manure has also been identified as a priority in the journey towards low carbon farming. 

The National Farmer’s Union responded by defending livestock production, stating that 90% of British households still want to buy high quality red meat and dairy, while suggesting UK products are often among the most sustainable options and meat and dairy farms cause around half the emissions they do in other countries due to climate conditions.

In other UK news, Wales has just unveiled its new Infrastructure Investment Strategy, with £8.1billion earmarked for green projects. 

Image credit:  Leon Ephraïm


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top