Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

'Bristol Beef' project an eco and health disaster

Release date: 
Monday, March 30, 2009

PROPOSALS by Bristol City Council to get their own herd of beef cattle to feed to local school children have outraged environment campaigners in the city. Bristol City Council claim the plans would fit in well with their green, sustainable and lifestyle aspirations " by keeping the land managed from grazing rather than machinery, reducing food miles. But the "Bristol Beef' project, if granted approval this week by the council cabinet, would be an environmental and health disaster, according to Bristol based group Viva!. Zephie Begolo, Viva! campaigner, says: "It is deeply disappointing to learn that Bristol City Council is proposing to graze cattle in the city and more so that it is doing so under an environmental guise. While it is admirable that they are considering the impact of our diet on the environment, raising cattle in the city is not the answer.' The proposed site for the cows is Stoke Park next to the M32. The beef could also be sold to 'high end' restaurants in Bristol. She added: "Carbon dioxide (CO2) will be saved through a reduction in food miles, yet methane, a substance with 20-times the global warming potential of CO2, will still be emitted, contributing significantly to the environmental catastrophes that we face. 'Bristol aspires to be a green city " yet in order to truly be so, it must acknowledge the damaging effect of the meat industry on the environment and should be promoting a healthy, plant-based diet, which could also be grown within the city's limits. Meat is massively inefficient* so the council should be supporting and expanding on Bristol's organic fruit and vegetable production and promoting vegetarianism as a significant way we can cut our carbon footprints.' Claims that the project would provide local children with "healthy food' have also been slammed by Bristol health experts. Amanda Woodvine, senior nutritionist, with the Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) says: "Plans to increase the amount of red meat fed to children in schools are outrageous from a health perspective. Additional beef on menus would "transform school meals' into a diet of disaster for the next generation. Beef is not a health food " red meat consumption is linked to a prevalence of some of the UK's biggest killer diseases and conditions " cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. By avoiding meat entirely, children get less harmful saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein, and often higher levels of folate, antioxidants and plant nutrients " cutting their risk of disease in adulthood. 'If the council are really concerned about children's health they should be encouraging them to meat reduce or go vegetarian " which is proven to help prevent all these serious health conditions.' To order a FREE Go Veggie pack from Viva!, call 0117 944 1000 or email info@viva.org.uk. ENDS For more information about this media release, please contact press officer Helen Rossiter or Zephie Begolo by calling 0117 994 1000 or email press@viva.org.uk or zephie@viva.org.uk. To speak to Amanda Woodvine, please call the VVF on 0117 970 5190 or email amanda@vegetarian.org.uk. Notes to editors *it takes 17kg of plant protein to produce 1kg of beef " the land in Bristol could feed many more people than the small amount of meat that would be produced. For more information, visit www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/hot/ and read Viva!'s fully-referenced scientific report Diet of Disaster, by Associate Director Tony Wardle. For further details on the health benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet, please visit www.vegetarian.org.uk. .