“Sustainability Must Come First”, Insists HCC Chair

Welsh farmers alone cannot win the battle against climate change and global warming. Consumers and retailers must also strive to put sustainability first in 2016, Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales’ Chairman has said in a New Year message to the industry.

“Climate Change is indisputable and we all have our obligations to the reduction of emissions agreed by the international community at the Paris talks in December,” said Mr Dai Davies.

“However, the Welsh livestock farming community is only one small component within the colossal change required. More must be done to integrate our efforts into a wider programme of action that includes public awareness, retailer policy and consumer behaviour as well as producer husbandry.”

Mr. Davies said HCC would assist Welsh farmers to continue to reducing emissions by working with them throughout 2016 and beyond to ensure production was as efficient as possible. “Rearing and finishing must be done within optimum conditions and timescales to reduce our contribution to emissions.

“The Welsh supply chain has made some good gains as a group in recent years. We are well-positioned after our trailblazing strategic work of a few years ago, with HCC’s commended Environmental Road Map for the Red Meat Industry.”

Commenting on recent flooding in Cumbria, Mr. Davies said: “Farmer colleagues there identified an indisputable truth in that if we are to restrain similar violent climate change effects, then a co-ordinated approach is vital.

“This can be reflected in actions to restrict and prevent global warming as well as to roll back its consequences. Livestock farming does not stand alone; it is part of a much wider package of contributory factors that must address warming issues.”

He said in 2016, Welsh farmers, with HCC, can more than play a leading part in fighting global warming, but it must be in a structured response and all other partners, including consumers and multiple retailers, must take full responsibility as well.

“Consumers can support farmers by hunting down and buying local. Retailers can help our producers to be environmentally and economically sustainable by taking action to protect the consistent supply of efficiently produced Welsh red meat to the consumer - and not succumb to the temptation to undermine it by flooding the market with cheap imports that have been shipped around the world and dramatically upset production patterns,” said Mr. Davies.

“With red meat, like all other commodities, sustainability can only be achieved if spot profits are shunned and there is no fuelling of inappropriate consumer responses ahead of wider environmental concerns.”