Labour’s vegan farming spokesman believes meat should be treated like tobacco with a public health campaign to stop it being eaten.
Kerry McCarthy MP was recently named the Labour Party’s Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Jeremy Corbyn’s appointment of a vegan farming spokesman was always going to be controversial.
Not only is McCarthy’s 20 year-long vegan lifestyle choice in potential conflict with a large section of Britain’s agricultural economy, she is a Vice President of the League Against Cruel Sports which seeks to ban countryside pursuits favoured by many farming communities.
“Progress on animal welfare is being made at the EU level and I feel it is best left to those campaigning groups working there but in the end it comes down to not eating meat or dairy.
“I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco with public campaigns to stop people eating it.”
McCarthy also said that in contrast to places like Latin America, in Europe “the constant challenging of the environmental impact of livestock farming is making me more and more militant.”
In response to her appointment, the Daily Telegraph reports that Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said:
“Kerry McCarthy’s views on meat eating and livestock farming are completely out of step with the vast majority of people.
“Her ideas are verging on the cranky. This appointment is only going to make it more difficult for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to reconnect with rural Britain.”
For her part, McCarthy has tried to calm disagreements. She recently told the BBC’s Farming Today:
“There will be different viewpoints, there will be violent disagreements, but it’s about trying to listen to the evidence, approach things with an open mind – and I am very much prepared to do that.”
It remains to be seen for how long Labour’s vegan farming spokesman can maintain that stance when dealing with meat, dairy and egg industries she believes “cause immense suffering to more than a billion animals every year in the UK alone”.