29th June 2023

Response to comments made by the First Minister

Sarah Millar, CEO of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) said: “Reducing the consumption of premium, high-quality, and locally sourced red meat to meet climate targets would be a misguided step. This move doesn’t factor in Scotland’s sustainable red meat production process, the industry’s significant contribution to the Scottish economy and its role as a key employer in rural communities or the many health benefits that consuming red meat provides.

“It’s important to understand that not all red meat is produced equally around the world and different production processes will have varying degrees of impact on the environment. We are fortunate in Scotland that red meat farming is a sustainable process as we have a natural climate, production system and landscape perfectly suited for producing sustainable, premium red meat. Our whole chain quality assurance guarantees the highest standards of production and animal welfare.

“Furthermore, the Scottish red meat industry plays an important role in sustaining rural livelihoods. From a financial perspective, Scotch Assured Beef farms alone generate £849m per year and provide employment to over 27,000 people, work tirelessly to deliver and set the standards for the rest of the world – all of which would be at risk with these measures.

“The agricultural industry in Scotland is working hard to reduce greenhouses gas emissions in order to support the nation’s goal of becoming Net Zero by 2040. As part of our five year strategy, Quality Meat Scotland and our members are fully committed to working in collaboration with the Scottish Government to enhance and evolve our environmental credentials which includes adopting new practices and standards that put low carbon production at the heart of what we do.”

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