A new publication highlighting the reasons the Scottish red meat industry takes such pride in its brands – from economic to environment and welfare - has been launched today (Thursday June 23) by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
Unveiling the pocket-sized booklet at the QMS industry breakfast on the opening day of the Royal Highland Show, QMS Chairman Jim McLaren said the Scottish red meat industry has a fantastic story to tell.
“Our industry contributed around £1.8 billion to Scotland’s economy last year and around 50,000 Scottish jobs depend on the Scottish red meat industry with many of these in fragile, rural areas,” said Mr McLaren.
Contrary to what is printed in some media sources, Scottish livestock producers also have a great environmental story to tell, he maintained, describing them as “the unsung heroes” of the food sustainability debate.
“The fact is that grass and rough grazing covers 82% of Scotland’s agricultural area.
“This land is unsuitable for combinable crop, fruit or vegetable production but is ideal for the extensive grazing of cattle and sheep.
“Our forage-based livestock production systems are efficient generators of protein for the human food chain – 1kg of beef produced by an upland suckler system requires an intake of only 0.92kg of protein which would be suitable for human consumption.”
The biodiversity of Scotland’s countryside is enhanced by livestock, he said, and Scotland’s permanent grassland also plays an important role in methane capture.
The industry is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of the quality assurance schemes which underpin the Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork brands.
The past year has seen our marketing team launch a successful “Behind the Label” umbrella campaign covering Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork and the next phase of this campaign is set to be launched later this year.
“Our products are renowned for quality and flavour and our quality assurance schemes are among the best in the world, covering the entire lifespan of animals and their journey through the production chain.
“High standards of welfare are a priority for our industry and we continue to work closely with the Scottish SPCA. Animal health is also of very high importance and QMS works hard to assist the industry to maintain and improve animal health,” he added.
QMS has around 100 projects running which are aimed at improving the efficiency of the industry.
“Invariably improved efficiency also leads to reduced waste and lower emissions and it is fantastic to see our industry so readily embracing new technology to deliver this.
“We should also take pride in the fact we are producing products which are very important for a healthy diet. Indeed we are delighted that Chris Paterson, Scotland’s most capped and highest point scoring rugby player, has been able to find time in his Scotland training schedule to join us at the show this week to highlight the importance of red meat for health and fitness.”