RABDF issue complaint to BBC for bias reporting against farmers

We feel that the recent reporting from the BBC, in particular relating to the latest IPCC results, has shown an extreme amount of bias against farmers and the agriculture sector.

Full complaint:

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, representing the UK dairy farming industry, is annoyed and frustrated to see the BBC report the findings of the recent IPCC as they did – misconstruing facts and being deliberately misleading, at the expense of the reputation of dairy farmers and the whole agriculture sector  – the dairy industry understands it has a responsible role to play in reducing GHGs but also recognises that our world class dairy farmers are already providing the solution to lower GHGs through best practice, high welfare standards and extensive environmental work, the majority of which goes unrecognised and unreported.

Specifically, the IPCC report stated that reducing food waste and leading healthy diets – diets that include animal products from ‘sustainable and low emission systems’ – were both ways we could look at combating rising temperatures and reducing the overall amount of GHGs produced.

At no point did the report state that we should be ‘switching to plant based diets’ as the solution.  While it outlined a balanced diet was of benefit it actually highlighted that including animal products in this diet – when sourced sustainably and from low GHG emission systems – they could contribute positively as a solution to climate change.

Also in an online report, published on 8 August, by Roger Harrabin there is more than one reference to the need to reduce consumption of animal products – with the headline stating ‘a plant based diet can fight climate change’ – and your only quote coming from Compassion in World Farming.  This is an example of bias with the article stating facts only against eating animal products with no counter argument. We have seen this across all BBC reporting platforms when it comes to farming recently.

We also want to question why the focus of your overall reporting into the IPCC results was aimed at farmers when this sector makes up less than 10% of the overall contribution to GHGs. You should focus on all sectors, especially those posing more serious risks and challenges than agriculture when it comes to emissions and their contribution to climate change – eg transport, energy supply, business and residential.