January has been a busy month for the Union - both politically and also in terms of managing the reputation of the industry.
To address the drip-feed of negativity surrounding red meat and dairy consumption, the FUW have been running a social media campaign (Twitter & Facebook) highlighting the positive story we have to tell. This social media campaign is run in conjunction with HCC and has a focus on sustainable farming. The Union also meets with the AHDB led group ‘Owning our Reputation’ to continue 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 negative anti-farming sentiment and we are prepared to fight it. As a result, the Union has already started a 12 month and beyond campaign of reputation enhancement.
This reputational enhancement campaign will remind the public of who and what we are and should cement in their minds the true benefits of not only buying Welsh produce but of the true health benefits that come from that decision. Of course this campaign will also focus 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.
Amongst the negativity, it is important to remember that vegans make up just 0.6% of the population and we believe that the shine of their campaign is slowly wearing off. The response to the George Monbiot ‘Apocalypse Cow’ programme on Channel 4 has been mixed. Indeed, reaction on Twitter was varied; with many of the scientific assertions and facts around farming questioned by the audience.
On that note, it is worth highlighting that the FUW has written to the Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, in response to Channel 4 broadcasting "How to Steal Pigs and Influence People" on the 14th January 2020. The FUW made it clear that by broadcasting the content of that programme the channel may have committed, and encouraged others to commit, criminal offences.
As a matter of principle the FUW does not normally use ‘v words’ in public and it is an internal policy to not comment directly about ‘v’ related items as that only provides the oxygen of publicity to their already weak arguments. Instead, the Union 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. We will continue to talk about Welsh family farms who demonstrate day after day that farming matters to us all in so many ways.