Countryfile: Expert on cattle's impact on greenhouse gasses
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On Sunday’s Countryfile, BBC hosts Sean Fletcher and Sean Brown took viewers to Manifold Valley Agricultural Show in Staffordshire, where children put their prize livestock into the show ring. Elsewhere, Adam Henson found out what he needed to do to go green on his farm, while Tom Heap investigated a toxic threat to dolphins, porpoises, and killer whales. However, viewers were left unimpressed by Adam’s segment, where he discussed food wastage on the farm. Some viewers even claimed they “turned off” the programme.
Adam began the segment by talking about the carbon footprint on his farm.
However, he explained farmers needed carbon in order to produce food for the supermarkets.
He told viewers the National Farmers Union is hoping to reduce the carbon footprint by 2040 and so in the hopes of achieving that, he has to change the way he runs his farm.
The presenter said a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions on the farm are caused by using fertiliser.
He spoke with a farmer called Will Fellows, who was using a green alternative at his farm.
Will said he was taking food waste from food factories and the hospitality sector and creating a “soup” from that waste.
“We then pump the pasteurised material into the tanks 24 hours a day,” the farmer explained.
“We are harnessing the bacteria in the tanks to eventually produce methane gas.”
He went on to add that they would inject the gas into their engines, which would then generate electricity.
Adam later pointed out how cows are also a culprit for the carbon footprint.
“We’ve only got about 50 cattle on the farm,” he said. “But globally, the beef and dairy industry produces a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.”
He spoke with Jude Capper, a professor of sustainable beef production.
She told Adam that cattle are responsible for a “pretty significant amount of our global greenhouse gas emission”.
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Jude said the simplest thing to improve the way they do things is to breed the cattle better.
Some viewers were not happy with the segment, with many accusing the show of “promoting food wastage”. Others branded it “boring” and felt the show was “ramming eco-activism” down their throats.
One viewer raged: “Tell you what Adam, we will shut all UK farms and import everything.”
Another said: “#Countryfile doing their usual line in ramming eco-activism down our throats. No thanks, turned off.”
A third questioned: “Aren’t we supposed to reduce our food waste though?”
“It’s not a problem, it’s a natural cycle. Massive decline in cattle numbers results in environmental decline,” a fourth pointed out. (sic)
Another said: “Interesting how I have a horrible experience in the countryside, accidentally find myself watching the horror that is @BBCCountryfile and immediately met with a maniac communist eco-extremist who is telling us we need to put ‘masks on cows’ and to ‘stop eating meat’.” (sic)
A sixth tweeted: “It’s like #countryfile are promoting food waste, we should not be throwing away food that is eatable.” (sic)
Countryfile returns on Sunday at 7pm on BBC One.
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