Following a backlash from farmers and the red meat industry, the BBC has amended the list of activities children must undertake to become “Climate Change Heroes” and obtain a Blue Peter green badge.
Originally the programme had encouraged children to undertake a range of activities over two weeks, including to switch off appliances, avoid using plastic to wrap lunches and to go meat-free. An environmentalist was also quoted as suggesting that eating less beef and lamb is better for the environment than reducing car travel.
That prompted an angry reaction, with the CEO of the National Beef Association Neil Shand suggesting that the national broadcaster had stooped to “new depths” with their latest attempt to persuade people to stop eating meat.
In a letter to the director general Tim Davie, he labelled the BBC as the “Beef Bashing Corporation”.
The Blue Peter campaign also drew a response from the leaders of beef levy boards in England (AHDB), Scotland (QMS) and Wales (HCC), who asked the BBC to reconsider their one-sided messaging. They pointed out that the minerals and vitamins found in red meat are an important part of a young person’s diet.
The wording on the Blue Peter initiative has since been changed to encouraging children to “choose a couple of vegetarian meal options”.