Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bristol City Council: where's the beef??

Its very odd that the public and other organisations, the Soil Association aside, have not been asked by the council for their views on their plans to run their own cattle farm on Stoke Park (front page story 'Pull the udder one', Post, March 26). Why the distinct lack of information and wider discussion?There are serious questions as to whether a council should be farming at all, with all the core responsibilities they already have for education, transport, housing and so on.

Even more odd to go for beef farming because its hardly a green option and apart from that it could be dogged by all sorts of problems especially in the event of disease outbreak. If the council was to run a farm far better for it to be at arms length, for it to be a mixed one, perhaps with fruit orchards (great for birds and bees), perhaps with areas set aside for schools to conduct environmental education, perhaps with areas set aside for Bristol's people to grow their own food at very low another city farm. This makes more sense to me than beef farming and the methane emissions that come with it.

The Posts comment on this issue echoes my MP Kerry McCarthy and correctly makes the point that this particular farm would be pretty small and so the impact of this enterprise on its own is not great. However, there is nowhere near enough emphasis on the greenhouse gas methane as one major cause of climate change and the council should be encouraging low meat diets. I'm not a veggie or a vegan but its certainly more environmentally friendly to eat less meat whilst at the same time being cheaper, healthier and more ethical.