Farmers and vets slam BBC for ‘unbalanced’ Countryfile item

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Farmers and vets have criticised the BBC for broadcasting ‘abhorrent’ and ‘unbalanced’ reporting on Countryfile.

The programme, aired on Sunday 15 March, scrutinised the Red Tractor food assurance scheme and looked at whether consumers should trust it.

Dr Alice Brough, a pig vet who left the industry to become a vegan campaigner for Viva!, appeared in one segment of the show.

Part of her job was to carry out welfare checks for Red Tractor. However, she left the sector because ‘too many farms she visited failed to meet the minimum welfare standards.’

“What I was seeing and doing was horrifying,” she said, “Cannibalism is very common, because of the way the animals are kept”.

“Most days I had to euthanize animals because of welfare issues”

She explained that she never recommended suspension from the scheme as she was ‘paid by the farmer to give advice to pass the inspection’.

Farmers and veterinary figures have now widely condemned the BBC for ‘unbalanced and inaccurate’ reporting.

NFU President Minette Batters said it was an ‘abhorrent piece’ as it was not a ‘true reflection of British farming and animal welfare standards’.

“Where was the balance BBC Countryfile?” she asked, adding that the BBC in ‘have blood on their hands’.

“There are real life consequences from the words they use – I will never, ever condone poor animal welfare but the British consumer deserves to hear the truth.”

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