As I sit down to attempt to write this article the sun is disappearing after a beautiful sunny day albeit a little cold. The weather will make up its mind eventually. It’s a little like the present government! We’ve had a very busy week with Fergus turning 18, an artificial insemination course to attend (What better way to spend your 18th?), calving, lambing and lots of pony club rallies to attend, oh and we shall throw in a bit of cross country schooling for fun!
A few weeks ago we received an email from one of the children’s schools telling us that they were implementing a trial period of ‘Meat free Mondays’. I won’t repeat the words spoken by the ‘grumpy farmer’ suffice to say they weren’t for the ears of most adults and definitely not the children! I decided in my wisdom to email the school, along with several other farming families and voice my concerns over ‘Meat free Mondays’.
The letter was along the lines of…
Dear ******, I hope this email finds you well.
I am not usually a parent to complain, but in this instance I feel that an email to ascertain the situation is appropriate.
My child came home from school yesterday saying that the whole class had watched a video by Paul McCartney on environmental sustainability. We have also downloaded this clip and watched it.
While we all need to be mindful of the systems that we use to produce our food, I believe that it is not as straightforward as ‘eating less meat will be saving the planet”. We should also be thinking of the environmental impact of ‘road miles’ when our food is transported from across the globe. This would also include our own individual environmental impact when travelling the world on holiday. If ‘Meat free Mondays’ are going to be a permanent feature, I would request that all Monday meals are using locally produced vegetables.
I would also request ‘Meat only Wednesdays’ are served to the children.
The children have a meat free option as well as a meat choice every day of the week and have the freedom to choose whichever they prefer. Why deny the meat eaters this option on a Monday? I believe that children should be shown a balance and allowed to form their own opinions on all subjects. The video shown in my opinion is very biased.
As you are aware we derive our living from dairy production. We also have a variety of arable crops grown on the farm that absorb the carbon dioxide gases produced by the cows. Therefore, in effect we remain carbon neutral. Rice farming is known to be a major contributor to climate change, new research shows that it is a far bigger problem than originally thought! Around 45 times bigger! Another gas produced by rice is Nitrous oxide also know as laughing gas! This has a huge detrimental effect on climate change. Will we be having ‘Rice free Fridays’?
The World Heath Authority actively promotes the drinking of cows’ milk for all children as part of a balanced diet. I believe a balanced diet contains small amounts of various foods produced - including meat. This is a topic that is very close to our hearts. Farming is such an important part of our lives and I believe the children have been shown a very one-sided argument. I would be more than happy to have a school visit to our farm to show the other side of the story.
We are awaiting a school visit, and the idea of ‘Meat free Mondays’ has been abolished – for now!
The goats have all kidded and lambing/calving has begun. With trail hunting finished, the eventing season has begun… A fifth place at Munstead on a horse that Fergus has produced was a great start. Next stop is Tweseldown with two children at each end of the day it will be an early start and a late finish. With a dry warm April some rain would be appreciated to establish the maize seed.