His column, which I reproduce below with his permission, in the latest NFU British Farmer & Grower Magazine, conveys a clear message regarding our vegan cousins, and the toll their diet is having on the environment and natural resources.
“How many gallons of water does it take to grow 25kg of soya beans? The answer according to the American Department of Agriculture is 3,738 gallons. The estimated worldwide annual production of soya beans is some 346 million tonnes or roughly 346,000,000,000kg. Divide by 25 and multiply by 3,738 and that is the amount of the world’s water resource that goes into soya bean production annually.
Water is generally reckoned to be one of the world’s most threatened resources and yet this fact appears not to enter the thought-process of our veggie warriors. This is just one clear example of how those who claim the ecological and moral high ground, conveniently overlook the real cost of their preferred route to nutrition.
The significance of this to me is that yet again, we who prefer to get our protein, vitamins and mineral from meat, fish and dairy products are failing to exploit the public relations opportunities in the battle of views, ideals and morals.
I use the word ‘battle’ because that is what the fringe activists, who are determined to impose their views on us, are engaging us in. Forget Brexit, forget the Agricultural Bill, because these are short-term hiccups compared to the pressure groups forming up against us who are determined, organised and very effective at punching above their real weight.
Already, the estimated 540,000 vegans reckoned to be in the UK, of whom only a small proportion are ‘activists’, have succeeded in grabbing a national position where those who hold a different view find it difficult to outmanoeuvre them. We become defensive, huff and puff a bit and then pull back into our little oases of isolation, hoping it will go away.
It won’t! We have to develop a proper, carefully argued response recognising who and what our targets are.
At the moment there are some 1.7 million people in the UK who choose to be vegetarian with, I add, every right to do so. In fact, these people present us with an opportunity to grow and provide what they want and not always in the most obvious ways. Quorn, for example has become a meat substitute for many, but did you know that the production process uses wheat to produce the glucose needed for fermentation of the mycoprotein?
In our anger and frustration at the activities of the fringe, we must not lose sight of the fact that vegetarianism has to be looked at as a farming and horticultural opportunity; so we must make sure that our responses to that fringe, do not alienate the majority who just make a choice and have no wish to impose it on others.
It interested me to see that the latest attack on our dairy and livestock industry gives absolutely no detail of who the individuals behind it are or where they are based. It seems extraordinary from a legal perspective, that in a country where we are so closely controlled, this situation can exist. Maybe we start lobbying to make it an offence to publish material on-line without attributing the exact source and people involved.
Why should we have to consider delisting our farms from Google, when someone who wishes to attack us can do so from a hidden position?
The answer to the first question, is 49,341,600,000,000 gallons. That’s rather a lot of water!”