Wales

Welsh farmers raise concerns over rise in veganism

Cows

Concerns about a trend towards a dairy-free and vegan diets have been raised by farmers in Wales.

Wales Dairy Show chairman Colin Evans said a rise in vegan celebrities meant farmers needed to "prove" that they "produce food in a healthy manner".

NFU Cymru stressed vegans only represent about 1% of people.

The Vegan Society has argued that dairy products leads to stress for animals in the industry.

It suggested last year that about 3.25% of the UK population are now vegetarians, and that the number of vegans is growing.

Image caption Wales Dairy Show chairman Colin Evans highlighted the rise in celebrities becoming vegans

The dairy show's Mr Evans said the growth in the vegan movement was worrying for the industry.

"It must be of concern to us. Celebrities are now getting behind promotional drives for veganism or vegetarianism," he said.

"We must have the answers ready for these people and to prove that we do look after our animals and we do produce food in a healthy manner."

NFU Cymru Milk Board member Gareth Richards, a dairy farmer at Alltyfyrddin Farm in Abergwili, Carmarthenshire, said farmers needed to do more to promote their produce.

"We don't go out and publicise ourselves enough. It's something we definitely need to do more of, whether it's about talking to shoppers in the supermarket, in farmers markets, or whatever," he said.

He added: "The vegan activism we've seen on a UK level in recent months represents an extremist view of dairy farming which portrays a completely inaccurate image of the UK dairy industry.

"Dairy farmers are proud to produce high quality milk and dairy products for the public to consume.

"Over 98% of the British public eat, drink and enjoy dairy products as part of a healthy, balanced diet."

Samantha Calvert, at the The Vegan Society, said that it is "not possible to take animal products without suffering".

She argued that "male calves get slaughtered because they have no purpose within the dairy industry" and "cows are distressed by the removal of their calves".

More on this story