Farm leaders have branded a campaign encouraging people to go vegan for January as misleading.
The National Sheep Association (NSA) and NFU Scotland (NFUS) have hit out at this month’s Veganuary initiative.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said the association was ready to fight back against “the misguided and misleading campaign”.
He said producers were having to argue against a “torrent of false claims” of crimes against animal welfare, the environment and human health.
“Make no doubt about it, behind the positive messages about Veganuary lies a well co-ordinated campaign against livestock farming,” added Mr Stocker.
“We are seeing criticisms from welfare campaigners, rewilders, climate change campaigners and health campaigners – but all these are connected and ignore the fact that UK sheep farming works very much in harmony with our environment, our landscapes, and our human ecology, creating a countryside the majority of the public love and producing a food product that is healthy and nutritious within a balanced diet.”
NFUS president Andrew McCornick said farmers and crofters were not frustrated by the decision to stop buying animal products for the month, but by the fact the decision was often made on the back of misinformation.
He said Scottish producers keep their animals to the highest of industry standards, and bring a great deal of positive environmental benefits.
He added: “Arguably, it is more environmentally friendly to buy locally-farmed food than buying food grown on the other side of the world and the associated amount of air miles.
“The most important thing to remember when deciding what to eat this January should not be is it vegan, it should be is it Scottish and is it in season?
“The best way to support domestic food production is to buy Scottish produce in season.”