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NATIONAL BEEF ASSOCIATION

(Press statement)
February 8th 2010

Science dictating policies on red meat issues must be incorruptible

The National Beef Association has warned international and national government food policy specialists, they must not to be tricked into making flawed decisions on the future of the red meat industry as a result of being misled by flawed science funded by well placed, anti-meat, agitators.

It says policy makers must be aware that livestock and meat production is regularly targeted by influential, and well-funded, vegetarian groups determined to further their cause - and that the funding of unsafe scientific reports is one of their most useful weapons.

"Cash accumulated by campaigning vegetarians is regularly used to attack meat production and tactics very often concentrate on undermining consumer confidence by linking meat eating with fear of disease, like cancer, or generating misplaced concern over the role farmed livestock might play in accelerating climate change," explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.

"And in this context the Association is worried that apparently plausible scientific contentions advanced as a result of cash paid out by determined anti-livestock farming lobbyists may undermine the integrity of crucial decisions taken by food policy specialists acting at national, EU, and international level."

One example is the failure of the World Cancer Research Fund to immediately acknowledge that a number of, apparently tactical, errors and omissions in its 2007 report have helped to support its case that a link exists between colorectal cancer and meat consumption - even though independent peer review has concluded there is no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship.

Another is the determination to continue to link ruminant animals with accelerating climate change even though the argument that animals eating grass are carbon neutral continues to gain increased scientific acceptance.

"The red meat industry has every reason to be alarmed about the presentation of bad science and the preaching of its flawed conclusions by anti-meat interests," said Ms Haywood.

"And it would be truly worrying if governments, and their advisors, allowed themselves to be influenced by unsound science because they were unaware of mounting evidence that vegetarian bias on red meat issues is corrupting basic scientific principles".

"The UK government has often said that science, not argument and counter-argument by self-interested lobby groups, must guide its decision making but if that is to be the case it must also be sure that the science it uses, on issues like bowel cancer, or greenhouse gas emissions by grazing livestock, is incorruptible."

For more information contact:

Kim Haywood, NBA director. Tel. 0131 336 1754/07967 698936