UK farmers are defending the meat industry after the release of the BBC One documentary ‘Meat, A Threat to Our Planet?’.

The documentary includes animal biologist Liz Bonnin who investigates the environmental impacts of animals used as a meat source for human consumption. Bonnin travels to Texas to visit a farm with 50,000 cows that emit large amounts of methane. The documentary focuses on ways to reduce methane emissions and understand a cow’s digestion.

“This has a devastating effect on our ecosystems as more land is being used for meat production, intensive farming is polluting our rivers with animal waste, and the ever-increasing number of livestock is contributing to global warming,” said Bonnin.

According to Sustainable Food Trust’s CEO, Patrick Holden, sustainable agriculture represents an opportunity to mitigate irreversible climate change through soil regeneration.

“We must move away from the prominent models of intensive, often monoculture systems which rely heavily on chemical inputs, towards more regenerative, mixed farming models, that integrate the production of plants for human consumption,” said Holden.

“This can include the introduction of cover cropping and grass, which when grazed sustainably can not only produce the food we can eat, in the form of grass-fed meat and dairy but also improve the fertility of our soils.”