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Jimmy Buchan: M&S’s scaremongering Veganuary tactics are more harmful than our local meat and fish industries

Amity Fish Company owner, Jimmy Buchan.

When I read Marks and Spencer’s Facebook post that skipping meat for one day a week has the same impact on your carbon footprint as not driving your car for a month, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

Not only is it completely irresponsible but it is factually incorrect.

I suppose if you are skipping eating lamb shipped all the way from New Zealand to M&S’s shop at Union Square, the numbers may stack up.

But is choosing an avocado or soy-based meal over a fish landed, processed and delivered in the north-east really the more environmentally friendly choice?

The Facebook post that Marks & Spencer’s posted originally before editing it.

These big companies and brands like M&S jumping on the Veganuary bandwagon are having such a negative impact on local fishing and farming communities at a time when they should be supporting them as much as possible.

It is disheartening to be continually vilified by the media for practices that have been carried out since the dawn of civilisation.

Scottish produce is some of the best in the world

We are lucky enough that our small corner of Scotland boasts some of the most beautiful and delicious produce in the world, not just our country.

World famous beef and seafood harvested and processed right here in north-east of Scotland, delicious yoghurt, rapeseed oils and even beer!

Jimmy Buchan.

We should be celebrating that, not penalising the communities who rely on these industries by refusing to buy or eat these products.

We’ve had to combat Brexit, the pandemic, the Seaspiracy documentary (if you can call that a documentary) and now we are being told that we should be giving up meat and seafood altogether, lest world come to an end.

Making changes

Climate change is a real issue and we are playing our part; Amity Fish Company were a proud supplier at COP26 and we have been continually adjusting our processes and reducing our packing to provide a leaner, greener service that matches our sustainable produce.

Seafood in particular is now harvested by a fleet of modern efficient vessels that will continue to be at the forefront of innovation providing healthy, sustainably harvested proteins for all to enjoy.

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Rather than cutting out seafood and meat, people should be doing the research, asking questions and finding out where their food comes from. Not just meat but all food – and then make the informed decisions on the food they choose to eat.

Did you know the harvesting of avocados results in mass deforestation of the Amazon rainforest? And that’s before you consider its carbon footprint to get to you. That soy-based dish? Soy production causes greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

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But local meat and fish? Look to your local fish suppliers and farmers for delicious produce that is sustainable and responsibly sourced, processed locally and covering far less miles in terms of carbon footprint. That’s before I even get into the health benefits.

To me, the value in eating local produce keeps local communities and skills alive along with a taste and eating experience that is second to none.

There’s value in eating locally reared or caught food

If you are choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for ethical or dietary reasons, I applaud you.

What I won’t stand for is scaremongering the public into cutting out meat altogether.

Jimmy on a small shipping boat sizing up lobsters.

The Ethical Butcher is running a fantastic campaign called Regenuary which encourages folks to choose food from regenerative sources as opposed to cutting out certain foods.

The concept of Regenuary is to consider the environmental impact of everything you eat, not just meat – and its’s a great initiative, definitely give it a read.


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