Vegan shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs is on a collision course with British farmers
Meat should be treated like tobacco with a public campaign to stop people eating it, Jeremy Corbyn’s new vegan shadow farming minister has suggested. Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, has irked the British farming industry with her veganism and vice presidency of the anti-hunting League Against Cruel Sports.
In an interview with Viva!life, a vegan magazine, she admitted she was a “militant” when it came to clamping down on meat consumption.
She said: “I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it.
“Progress on animal welfare is being made at EU level… but in the end it comes down to not eating meat or dairy.
“The constant challenging of the environmental impact of livestock farming is making me more and more militant.”
Ms McCarthy, who was appointed as part of Mr Corbyn’s new shadow cabinet, also put low milk prices, something which farmers have been struggling with, down to “supply and demand”.
She said: “Too much milk is being produced and if you live by the market you have to risk dying by the market.”
Tim Bonner, 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.”
But Ms McCarthy later sought to clarify her comments in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today.
She said: “The world is not going to turn vegan because I am in post.
“I have my own personal views on what I choose to eat, but I accept that we have a livestock industry in this country. What I want is for the industry to have the best welfare standards possible, to be sustainable as well as economically viable.”