Beef cuts on display at a grocery store in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Weather Network’s anti-meat video ‘doesn’t reflect true story’: cattle ranchers

At issue is the video’s suggestion that cutting back on meat consumption could help save the planet

A meat industry association has demanded the Weather Network remove a video from its website that urges Canadians to consume less red meat, the latest front in the farmers’ fight against negative publicity for animal products amid a consumer push toward plant-based protein alternatives.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association met with the network’s executives Monday night to address concerns about the video’s message, primarily claims that cows require more resources than other, smaller animals and produce 20 times more greenhouse gas than certain plants.

The Weather Network-produced video, which suggests people should cut back by about 1.5 burgers a week, highlights a recent report from the World Resources Institute, the United Nations and other partners on how the world can prepare to feed a 10-billion population by 2050.

The video “doesn’t reflect the true story,” Jill Harvie, public and stakeholder engagement manager with cattlemen’s association, said in an interview.

The group disputes the video’s suggestion that cutting back on meat consumption could help save the planet, saying beef production in Canada makes a positive contribution to the environment through maintaining grassland and sequestering carbon.

The Canadian beef industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are among the lowest in the world, she added.

“We’d hoped that the video would come down and would be essentially replaced with something that was more reflective of the Canadian context.”

Estimates that suggest beef production is only a small contributor to emissions tend to leave out the impact of cutting down forests and other land use, according to the WRI website. It does note that the emission intensity of Canada’s beef production is lower than in much of South America, Africa and Asia, according to 2013 figures.

The two parties agreed to engage in sharing information, said Harvie, adding the network appeared open to future collaboration.

The Weather Network, which is owned by Pelmorex Corp., declined an interview request and did not answer questions over email, but sent a prepared statement that said it “will not actively advise people on their food consumption choices.”

It also appeared to acknowledge the video may have missed the mark.

“The purpose of this article was merely to focus on sustainability and upon further review, we determined that our video and post did not reflect our intention,” the network’s statement read.

The video’s narrative plays into an ongoing push by policy-makers and plant protein producers to sell consumers on the environmental and health benefits of swapping steaks for soybeans.

Cattle producers earlier this year took on plant-based protein giant and stock-market darling Beyond Meat, which makes the popular Beyond Meat burgers that have been added to restaurant menus across Canada in recent months.

READ MORE: Beyond Meat goes public as sales of plant-based meats rise

The Quebec Cattle Producers Federation filed a complaint with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency saying the California-based company’s advertising is misleading and contravenes Canadian rules, arguing it shouldn’t be allowed to use the word “meat” for its vegan products.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Chemainus artist’s painting of a front-line worker a powerful image

Chemainus artist puts her creative touch to COVID Angel

Drivesmart column: Traffic calming in your neighbourhood

Since the police are only part of the solution, what are the alternatives?

COVID-19 means different graduations for Cowichan students in 2020

At Lake Cowichan students did the traditional hat toss

Mary Lowther column: Pre-sprouting corn in paper towels

My new packet of spinach didn’t grow when I put the seeds directly into potting soil

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read