Farmer and TV presenter Adam Henson has hit out at 'vegan vigilantes who post horrendous things on social media that aren't true'.
According to the Countryfile host, who owns a 1,600-acre working farm in the Cotswolds, he 'doesn't have a problem with what people eat' - but believes people should be educated so they can make informed choices.
"What drives me mad are the vegan vigilantes who post horrendous things on social media that aren't true," he told The Mirror. "I've been campaigning for an agricultural GCSE to be introduced, so people can make informed choices.
"Are you better off eating a lamb that's been bred on my farm, grazed on beautiful Cotswolds pasture and is full of wildflowers, or something that's been shipped halfway across the world and may have contributed to deforestation?
"There has to be a balance. But let people eat what they want. I don't have a problem with it."
Dominika Piasecka is Media and PR officer for The Vegan Society. She refutes Henson's claims that people choose between local meat or vegan food that has been shipped around the world. "Shopping locally and seasonally is important, but it pales in comparison to the impact you can have by changing the types of food you eat and an off-the-shelf vegan diet is the most sustainable of all diets," she told Plant Based News.
"There are no foods exclusive to vegans. Everyone eats fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses etc. so it is disingenuous to say that issues around produce being shipped from around the world is only a problem for vegans. In any case, tomatoes grown in Spain and shipped over may have a lower environmental footprint to tomatoes grown in a heated greenhouse around the corner from your house in an artificial environment and using up more resources.
What is more important than reducing food miles is shortening the food chain, as most emissions occur on the farm during production. Eating lower in the food chain, as eating vegan does, means cutting out the ‘middle animal’ and all the associated emissions."