The taxpayer-funded Climate Action Oxfordshire website offers a list of tips for local residents that aim to reduce the county’s carbon footprint. The website also includes tips such as joining community action groups, walking instead of driving, and shopping for second-hand clothes.
However, it is the section of the website that urges users to adopt a plant-based diet that has caused outrage in many farming communities in Oxfordshire. The Climate Action Oxfordshire website claims that 58% of our food emissions come from animal products and advises people to visit the Vegan Society website which will help them create a vegan diet of their own.
Local farmer Julie Adams said: “Oxfordshire County Council really needs to understand more about farming and food production here in the UK. Their new Climate Action Oxfordshire website suggests that to reduce your climate footprint for food, you should follow a plant-based diet.
“The content on the website is about global GHG emissions figures for beef and has nothing to do with what we do here in the UK where our cattle are grass fed. It is totally misleading. I am an arable farmer and am passionate about the countryside and agriculture as a whole. The website undermines the hard work of many local ranchers who produce local and sustainable food. Grazing ruminants, such as cattle and sheep in the UK, are both beneficial to biodiversity and only account for 3.7% of UK population carbon emissions, when carbon stored in grassland is included.
“Nowhere on the website is there any mention of food miles or that it’s much more important to know where and how your food is produced. Also, nothing is mentioned about buying products The website is totally wrong to direct you to the Vegan Society because a vegan or vegetarian diet is not necessarily more environmentally friendly.
“The website has been supported by all the local authorities in the area which is a shame. I’m not happy taxpayers money was spent on this website or on the ‘meat and dairy free’ lunches “provided at Oxfordshire County Council meetings. Their first lunch contained watermelon, kiwi, mango and passion fruit, which are neither local, nor seasonal, nor sustainable, as had been promised Liz Leffman, the president of the OCC.
A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council responded and said: ‘A recent survey by Oxfordshire Councils and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership showed that local residents share the council’s concerns over the change climate change and feel the need to help address it. We just want to help people who want to make changes to help fight climate change by making suggestions on how they can do it. Helping to tackle climate change is a key priority for Oxfordshire County Council.
“Oxfordshire County Council’s thoughts on plant-based foods are in line with the central government’s National Food Strategy, which explicitly recommends that people reduce their meat intake.”