Ahead of the BBC’s "Meat a threat to our planet?" program, set to air this evening (November 25) at 9pm, the results of a new survey are being highlighted by SellMyLivestock.

Andrew Loftus, commercial director of the company said: “UK farmers have recently been vilified in the press and media as enemies of the environment. Global studies, reports and news stories, often feature environmentally damaging farming practices overseas, but are applied liberally to the UK, where our farming is far more environmentally friendly.

"In fact, UK livestock emits 2.5 times less greenhouse gases than the global average.

“The facts tell the real story. Two-thirds (65 per cent) of the UK’s land is only suitable for livestock - it’s either too wet, too rocky, or too high to grow crops. And because people can’t eat grass, the only way our land can contribute to feeding UK households is through livestock farming. For example, some claim it takes 17,657 litres of water to produce a kilo of beef, but in the UK, 85 per cent of this comes from the rainfall that falls naturally on our grassland.

“British farming, particularly livestock, is seen as an easy target; there are no big corporations with huge PR budgets to spend defending it, just thousands of small family farms. It’s frankly a cheap shot for virtue signalling organisations eager to appease a ‘woke’ generation of misled consumers.

“In the UK our farmers don’t cut down rainforests, we plant thousands of trees; we don’t destroy biodiversity, we protect and maintain it; we don’t abuse water sources, we carefully manage our water resources. Put simply we don’t hate the environment, we cherish it and rely on it. Most people in the UK understand this intuitively, but a vocal minority are regularly attacking thousands of hard working farmers up and down the country, whose job it is to put food on our plates.”

The survey, commissioned by Hectare the parent company of SellMyLivestock, spoke with 472 UK farmers about their attitude to UK farming and the environment. The marketplaces are used by over 60,000 Farmers in the UK.

Figures according to the Government’s provisional GHG emissions in 2018, prepared according to the rules of the Paris Treaty, showed that the UK’s total emissions were 449mT last year. Agriculture, the smallest of the sectors considered, produces just ten per cent of that total. In 2017, over 35,000 schemes were put in place with farmers across Britain aimed at boosting biodiversity and enhancing the environment, while farmers are also helping to produce renewable energy that helps to power an average of ten million UK homes.

The survey also revealed how farmers, whether they be cereal growers or livestock farmers, or both, are making changes to the way they farm. Some of the most popular changes instigated by farmers included:

• Reduced the use of pesticides (72.84 per cent)

• Reduced the use of artificial fertilisers (70.11 per cent)

• Planted woodland and/or hedgerows (62.35 per cent)

• Improved the biodiversity of the farm (53.68 per cent)

• Reduced cultivation (48.87 per cent)

The survey also showed farmers broadly welcome the newly proposed changes to farming subsidy post-Brexit, with two-thirds (68 per cent) of farmers in agreement that it will benefit them. A similar number (63 per cent) also thought that the proposed schemes for environmental stewardship, which will reward farmers based on making changes to their farms which benefit the environment, will be an improvement.

Loftus continues: “Clearly it’s time we broke the myth that farmers don’t care about the environment. In fact, as a beef farmer myself, we’re very concerned about it.

"We’ll be one of the first to be affected by climate change, and we are championing environmentally friendly practices in everything we do. At the same time, more consumers need to be aware of their choices, particularly when it comes to imported food. For example, substituting Mexican avocados for British beef can actually result in greater environmental costs.

“If consumers want to be greener, and want to make the right environmental choice, then they should buy local. And you can’t get much more local than UK-produced, grass-fed lamb or beef. It’s one of the greenest meats in the world.”

READ MORE: Spencer Matthews backs red meat in new campaign