Nostalgic British TV show Blue Peter encourages its young audience to take a meat-free pledge in order to save the environment.
Blue Peter is the longest-running TV show in the world, and it would be difficult to find someone who didn’t grow up watching it after school every evening.
While the show is careful to remain politically neutral, last week Blue Peter launched a campaign encouraging young viewers to go meat-free as part of a climate change challenge.
Audience members can become ‘climate heroes’ by pledging to switch off lights and appliances not being used, drinking from reusable water bottles, and choosing meat-free meals.
Completing this two-week pledge could earn viewers a green version of the coveted Blue Peter badge.
Presenter Mwaksy Mudenda read out the pledge on-screen, while the show’s website added that children would be ‘reducing plastic pollution and boosting biodiversity – true climate hero behaviour’.
Backlash from farmers
Unfortunately, the Farmer’s Union has spoken out in response to the proposed meat-free pledge and criticised both the show and its broadcaster the BBC.
Welsh farmer Gareth Wyn Jones argued: “I’m very disappointed as a farmer and a father as well. They are saying don’t eat meat, which is just a sweeping statement.
“There is so much to food production that the viewers are not being told. In this country, we have got grass, and grass can be produced very easily.
“It is done in a sustainable, regenerative and very environmentally-friendly way. Why aren’t we telling our children this? My kids know this.
‘This is what will save our planet, and meat has a part to play in it.’
Disappointingly, the show has placated the farmer’s outrage and updated the website to ‘reflect that buying local grass-fed meat can also make a difference to climate change’.
Moreover, fellow presenter Richie Driss visited a family of Welsh farmers to discuss how they rear livestock ‘sustainably’ on yesterday’s episode.
A dying industry
This negative reaction to a simple pledge of swapping a few meals for veggie options is completely disproportionate. The fact is, the meat industry is propped up by subsidies given by the government and taxpayer, and without these, the industry would collapse.
The industry is scared, and its biggest threat is young people. This is because millennials and generation Z are driving the vegan movement. A recent study showed that a whopping 80% of millennials in the US are eating vegan ‘meats’ regularly.
Moreover, Veganuary hit a record number of sign-ups this year, with 584,000 participants around the globe. Even more significant is the fact that 85% intend on sticking to a plant-focused diet.
For the majority, this means making permanent changes to their diet by cutting their intake of animal products by at least half. More importantly, 40% of this 85% are staying fully vegan, which equates to almost 200,000 new vegans around the globe.
Meat is old news, and plants are the future. We hope that at least some children took note of the planet-saving pledge and are making conscious choices towards a greener future and plate.
Want to shake up the standard education system?
Read our article on Climate change education in schools: Should it be mandatory?