© Catherine Falls
Kød er afgørende, specielt i udviklingslande siger videnskabsfolk.
Kød er afgørende for at føde planeten har ledende forskere udtalt, idet de advarer, om at det ikke er mere miljøvenligt at blive veganer.

Eksperter fra Universitetet i Edinburgh og Scotlands Rural College sagde at landmænd i stigende omfang føler sig demoniseret af det ikke underbyggede "mad er ondt" påstand, som promoveres af miljølobbyer.

Ved en paneldebat i det centrale London argumenterede de for, at kød er kritisk for børns fysiske og mentale sundhed, specielt i udviklingslande, og sagde, at det at bevæge sig bort fra husdyrlandbrug ikke ville forbedre udnyttelse af landarealet.

Prof. Geoff Simm, Director of Global Academy Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Edinburgh, said: "I think (livestock farmers) do feel they are being demonised.

"Often the argument is made that going vegan would minimise land use, and the modelling studies that have been done demonstrate that that's not the case.

"We feel that while livestock production has a range of economic, social and environmental costs and benefits, the costs have perhaps been receiving far more attention recently than some of the benefits.

"Meat has massive social benefits. It's an important source of dietary protein, energy, highly bioavailable micronutrients, even small amounts of animal-sourced food have a really important effect on the development of children, in the developing world on their cognitive and physical development and they are really important."

Prof Mike Coffey, from Scotland's Rural College, added: "It's completely unnecessary to go vegan.

"If everybody went vegan it would be devastating for the UK environment. Animals bred for food help boost biodiversity."

Researchers are currently attempting to breed more environmentally friendly cattle, which grow faster and eat less, which could further reduce the sector's carbon footprint by reducing the amount of methane released by cows.

Comment: A fool's errand with no purpose.

This could also lead to shoppers in the next few years being able to check the label of their food to discover the environmental impact it has had, they added.

Prof Coffey said that the difference in methane emissions from best and worst cattle was about 30 per cent and that if all UK farmers used the most efficient animals this could reduce carbon emissions by nearly a third.

He said by next year farmers will able to select bulls for breeding that will father dairy cows that consume less feed for the amount of milk they produce.

But Prof Coffey said the next stage will be trying to measure the methane given off by different breeds of cattle to find which are the lowest emitters.

He added: "By next year farmers will be able to select bulls whose daughters consume less feed for the amount of milk they produce.

"Where we go next is can we actually measure methane emissions from groups of animals."

Prof Coffey said that soon shoppers could be able to check meat labels to find out how much environmental impact their food has had.

He added: "My expectation is that at some point in the near future there will be product labels that relates to the efficiency or carbon impact of the food."

Professor Andrea Wilson, also of Edinburgh University, said more research was needed into the impact of veganism.

She added: "We know a lot about the livestock sector because people have looked at it. We actually know very little about the vegan sector.

"The danger is we demonise one and jump too quickly to the other."