Edinburgh City Council backs Plant Based Treaty

Research on red meat and health in focus

Ewan Pate
clock • 2 min read
Edinburgh City Council backs Plant Based Treaty

Edinburgh City Councils decision to endorse a Plant Based Treaty is a slap in the face for farmers.

That was the message from Perthshire South and Kinross-shire MSP Jim Fairlie after councillors in the Policy and Sustainability Committee backed a motion to refuse applications for new farms and slaughterhouses, and for the potential rollout of meat taxes, carbon labelling on foods and the introduction of meat-free days at council operated premises such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes and offices.

Edinburgh is apparently the first capital in Europe to take this stance.

The decision came on the same day that Prof. Alice Stanton presented research to the Scottish Parliament challenging a report in medical journal The Lancet which suggested minimal intake of red meat can be bad for human health.

Professor Stanton, a cardiovascular pharmacologist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, said there was little if any evidence that unprocessed red meat is associated with an increased risk to human health, and that animal sourced foods are nutrient rich relative to ultra-processed plant-based alternatives.

At a Quality Meat Scotland event in the Scottish Parliament hosted by Mr Fairlie, Prof. Stanton said: At least two billion of us worldwide consume enough calories but dietary quality is inadequate. What is missing are key amino acids, vitamins and minerals, all of which are naturally present in animal sourced foods.

Consumption of meat, dairy, seafood and eggs, as part of a healthy balanced diet is key. If we try to replace nutrient rich animal sourced foods with plant-based ultra-processed foods, which are filled with excess calories, sugar, salt and multiple cosmetic additives, we are very likely to harm human health."

Commenting on the Edinburgh City Council decision, Mr Fairlie said: Prof Stantons research proves that nutrient-rich animal sourced foods are a vital component of our diets, and it is hugely concerning that city-based councillors are moving towards banning them as an option across Scotlands capital.

This decision is a slap in the face for Scotlands farmers who are doing a fantastic job of producing sustainable food, and are continually adopting updated measures to protect and enhance our countryside.

Whilst I understand why councillors have been attracted to siding with what they believe to be an environmentally conscious and progressive position there is more than meets the eye to their motion, he said, adding he would be happy to share the research and meet with them to discuss Scottish farming.