Nigel Farage has criticised the “taxpayer-funded indoctrination of our children” after reports that the iconic BBC children’s educational programme Blue Peter was encouraging children to “go meat free”.
Blue Peter has been a staple of British after-school viewing since 1958, with children undertaking tasks to obtain the much-coveted blue badge. The badges can be used to gain free entry to hundreds of attractions in the UK.
The BBC programme recently launched a green badge initiative for children who are “climate heroes” and do such things as switching off lights or stopping using single-use plastic bottles.
However, the programme garnered criticism for encouraging children to “go meat free”, according to The Times.
The “go meat free” message had appeared on a screen during an episode, at the same time a host saying “or choose a meat-free meal”.
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Complaints came from Welsh farmer Gareth Wyn Jones, who said that the message overlooked the lower environmental impact of British raised livestock, and Neil Shand of the National Beef Association who said that the BBC failed to tell children that many trendy imported fruits and vegetables like avocados had high ‘carbon footprints’.
“Taxpayer-funded indoctrination of our children is outrageous,” Brexit leader Nigel Farage said of the report on Tuesday.
The broadcaster, which is funded by a mandatory charge on anyone who watches live television, was forced to change the criteria on its website for winning a badge, with the wording now reading that children should “choose a couple of vegetarian meal options during your two weeks as part of a healthy balanced diet”.
A BBC spokeswoman told the newspaper the criteria had been changed “to reflect that buying seasonal food or local grass-fed meat can also make a difference to climate change”.
“We are not asking Blue Peter viewers to give up meat,” the spokeswoman claimed.
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In writing to the “Beef Bashing Corporation” Director General Tim Davie, Mr Shand said the views being offered to young children were “unbalanced” and “irresponsible”.
“Blue Peter’s attempts to influence the diet of young children away from these valuable food sources is a continuation of personal agendas by some journalists and programme makers,” Mr Shand wrote.
He added that red meat was “essential to [the] development and growth of children”, saying: “Many of these nutrients that are vital to a healthy food balance cannot be found naturally in any other food source.”
It is not the first time that impressionable young children had been pulled into leftist green activism.
Swedish climate change evangelist Greta Thunberg, who has now been immortalised in bronze at an English university, at the age of 15 encouraged children around the world to skip school on Fridays to protest their governments over perceived inaction against alleged man-made global warming.
The increase of children being confronted with alarmist environmental messages has resulted in a rise of what the American Psychological Association described in 2019 as “eco-anxiety”. British psychologists noted the same phenomena of young children feeling grief and anxiety related to climate change.
The following year, a survey by Newsround — another BBC institution which focuses on current affairs for youngsters — revealed that one in five children aged between eight and 16 were experiencing climate nightmares.
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