UK - Vegan MP Kerry McCarthy has been appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under new opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Ms McCarthy is the Labour MP for Bristol East and first entered parliament in May 2005.
According to her website, she has been a vegan for 20 years and was a vegetarian before that, and was the first vegan MP elected. She is one of only a few vegan MPs.
She has been vocal on agricultural issues, most recently questioning government ministers on what she labelled the overuse of antimicrobials in agriculture.
Just last week she put forward a bill to reduce food waste which would introduce rules for supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities, similar to regulations discussed in Europe. The bill will receive a second reading in 2016 after receiving wide support.
Comments on her website indicate that she believes meat consumption should decrease, saying in June 2015: "Agriculture is a huge contributor to global carbon emissions and as the global demand for food increases, heavy dependence on meat will become unsustainable."
In June 2013, she also said that animal agriculture contributed to global hunger, saying: "By cutting our meat consumption and slowing the rate at which animals are bred, we could redirect the crops that they would have consumed to the people who need them most."
NFU President Meurig Raymond commented: “We look forward to working with Kerry McCarthy MP in her new role as shadow Defra Secretary.
“The NFU will be lobbying across the political spectrum on key issues in the farming sector with BPS payments, the agri-growth strategy and the implementation of the 25-year TB eradication plan being just three of them. And we hope to work closely and productively with Ms McCarthy to demonstrate our key asks of present and future Government.
“The food and farming industry employs more than 3.8 million people and agriculture contributed nearly £10 billion to the economy between 2008 and 2014. These are just two statistics which highlight the importance of backing British farming.
“We would like to invite Ms McCarthy to pledge her support to the NFU’s Back British Farming campaign and to attend the NFU fringe event at the Labour Party Conference. We look forward to discussing the development of a national food strategy and the issues raised in Jeremy Corbyn’s recent Rural Renewal report.”
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