I’m a meat eater myself but I have nothing against veggies, vegans and miscellaneous tree-huggers or anyone else that wants to eat healthily. Each to his own I say.
Now here’s the ‘but’!
A study by the University of Reading suggests that if everyone adhered to the government’s promotion of ‘five-a-day’, (fruit and veg that is, not Woodbines), and eat less red meat, it would change the face of Britain forever.
The UK would need 100,000 hectares (386 square miles) of polytunnels to meet the demand for fruit alone.
Demand for red meat would drop by 20% and dairy products by 40%.
This would mean 1.5m fewer head of livestock, leaving the upland hills, favoured by walkers and tourists, un-grazed.
Land would become covered in scrub and gorse, and if left alone would become inaccessible to visitors.
Professor Bruce Traill of Reading University, said: "Undoubtedly the UK government has a duty to promote the health of the population and within this research project we have been looking at the most effective ways of doing that, whether by fiscal measures, social marketing, or by trying to enhance the nutritional qualities of the foods that people eat.
There is potential in all of these approaches, if they are targeted effectively. But we do also have to consider the potential unintended consequences of policies.
For rural communities, such as the dairying industry of South-West England and upland areas of the UK these could be far-reaching and need to be taken into account."
The report also says that increased production of fruit and vegetables in the East and South East of England would be unlikely to bring more employment.
Because of the scope for machinery to be used for many of the required horticultural operations leading to a minimal need for labour, farmers would probably rely on casual workers.
All of these crops need to be irrigated so there would be a heavy demand on the water supply.
So to sum up. The government want you to live healthier and longer, they can’t afford to pay old age pensions now, so what happens when we are turned into a nation of herbivores and everyone adds a couple of extra years to their lifespan?
Will the government be content knowing that they have had to sacrifice this green and pleasant land to achieve it?
Of course it will, after all, the Department of Health’s statistics will look good, wont they?
I‘m off to have my breakfast now, I’ll have a couple of extra rashers please, Ma!