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Experts Warn Beef Farmers That Entire Industry Could “Literally Disappear”

by | October 22, 2019

Beef farmers in the UK have been warned by an expert body that if more isn’t done to protect their business then the industry could “literally disappear.”

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) has been investigating the impact that decreasing prices of beef are having on British farmers.

The National Beef Association (NBA) represented beef farmers in the House of Commons recently during an inquest into the price crisis. Experts explained that the price of raising cattle is falling below the value of selling the meat.

UK farmers are currently taking 46% of the consumer price, as opposed to the 50% standard they have been used to, leading many to question if the farmers are getting a fair deal. 

“We can’t work out why farmers are getting substantially less and the consumer is paying only a little less than before. Not even a noticeable amount” said Neil Parish, chairman of the EFRA Committee.

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Vegan and vegetarian alternatives to meat are increasing in popularity (Source: Polina Yanchuk / Shutterstock.com)

Vegan Alternatives To Beef

Alongside the risk posed to farmers from falling meat prices is the impact that the rising popularity of vegan food is having on the animal agriculture industries.

As of 2018, it was estimated that there are approximately 600,000 vegans in the UK. Additionally, up to three million people in the country follow a vegetarian diet. However, it is not only vegans and vegetarians who consume plant-based alternatives to meat.

Research has suggested that as many as one in four evening meals enjoyed in the UK are meat-free, and that one in five British people are actively reducing the amount of meat that they consume.

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Flexitarian meat-eaters are also turning to vegetarian and vegan alternatives in a bid to reduce meat intake (Source: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com)

Flexitarian Approach

The flexitarian approach to eating, which is basically a more flexible version of vegetarianism, has further fuelled the popularity of plant-based eating. Those who consider themselves to be flexitarians may consume meat sometimes but largely leave it off the menu in favour of vegan and vegetarian alternatives.

Do you think the rising popularity of vegan food will further impact farmers in the near-future? Let us know in the comments below!

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