People who eat meat should be treated like smokers, and meat itself should be treated like tobacco, with public campaigns to discourage its consumption, suggests Kerry McCarthy, recently appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by the UK's Labour Party, now led by self-described democratic socialist Jeremy Corbyn.
In an interview with Viva!life, a vegan magazine, McCarthy advocated an aggressive approach for dealing with meat consumption.
“I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it,” Kerry said. “Progress on animal welfare is being made at EU level… but in the end it comes down to not eating meat or dairy. The constant challenging of the environmental impact of livestock farming is making me more and more militant.”McCarthy’s role, and that of her fellow Shadow Cabinet members, is to scrutinize the decisions of their counterparts within the current Conservative Party cabinet and offer alternative courses of action.
In her new role, McCarthy has already experienced friction with British farmers and hunters, who have felt threatened by her criticism of the livestock industry. “Kerry McCarthy’s views on meat eating and livestock farming are completely out of step with the vast majority of people,” Tim Bonner, a member of the British farming and rural culture advocacy group Countryside Alliance, told The Telegraph.
Later, McCarthy clarified her remarks during an interview with Farming Today, a BBC radio program.
“I have my own personal views on what I choose to eat, but I accept that we have a livestock industry in this country,” Kerry said. “What I want is for the industry to have the best welfare standards possible, to be sustainable as well as economically viable.”