We are positively fighting the drip-feed of negativity

by Glyn Roberts, FUW President

JanUary has been a busy month for the Union – politically but also in terms of managing the reputation of our industry.

To address the negativity surrounding red meat and dairy consumption, we have been running a social media campaign (Twitter & Facebook) highlighting the positive story we have to tell with a focus on sustainable farming in conjunction with HCC.

We have also issued columns which address the misinformation in the public domain, accentuating the positive things farming does and have met with the aHDB led group ‘Owning our reputation’ before Christmas and throughout January to evaluate the situation.

an agreement was reached with all industry stakeholders that we will continue the positive engagement and promotion of our industry throughout 2020 and beyond. The FUW is working hard to address the negativity out there and we are prepared to fight it.

That is why this Union has already started a 12 months and probably longer campaign of reputation enhancement.

This will be a campaign that will remind the public of who and what we are, a campaign that cements in their minds the true benefits of not only buying Welsh produce but of the true health benefits that come from that decision and of course a campaign that focuses on the incredibly positive contribution that Welsh farms and family farms, in particular, play in dealing with the challenges of climate change and the maintenance of our beautiful country.

Veganuary put a cloud over many of us with a consistent drip feed of negativity that is unsettling many farmers across Wales. a series of messages delivered with almost messianic zeal that are making farmers very uncomfortable.

TV programmes and articles were not in short supply and we were outraged by programmes such as ‘meat the family’, ‘apocalypse Cow’ and ‘How to steal pigs and influence people’ broadcast on Channel 4.

What is worth remembering is that vegans only make up 0.6 per cent of the population and the shine of their campaign is slowly wearing off. The response to the George monbiot programme on C4 has been mixed. reaction on Twitter was varied and with a lot of the scientific assertions and facts around farming questioned by the audience.

Indeed, industry figures show that the three C4 programmes aired didn’t feature in the top 60 viewed programmes across the main terrestrial channels.

On that note, I would like to highlight that we have written to the Chair of the national Police Chiefs’ Council, in response to Channel 4 broadcasting “How to steal Pigs and Influence People” on January 14 2020. We made it clear that through broadcasting the content of that programme the channel may have committed and encouraged others to commit criminal offences.

We don’t normally use V words in public and it is an internal policy to not comment directly about V-stuff as that only provides the oxygen of publicity to their already weak arguments.

Instead, we will continue to promote the healthiest, the safest, the tastiest, the greenest, and the best. We will talk of food producers, animal welfare experts, carbon storers, flood preventers and so on.

The people we will talk about are of course the Welsh family farms who demonstrate day after day that farming matters to us all in so many ways.

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