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French industry determined to fight meat misinformation

By Melodie Michel , 10-Apr-2012

French industry determined to fight meat misinformation

French meat industry union Sniv-SNCP has started an “offensive strategy”, including potential court action, to combat misinformation spread by the media.

Sniv-SNCP contested the idea that French people are “big” meat-eaters, that meat is “imposed” in school lunches, that livestock production “destroys” the planet, and that eating meat reduces life-span, adding that meat is “essential to a balanced daily diet”.

“Let’s say stop to the denigration of meat and to libellous lies. What is at stake here is thousands of jobs, agricultural and industrial know-how, our gastronomic heritage and even our culture. The image of meat, a product of civilisation, is an intangible asset too precious to be thrown to some anti-meat lions,” said Sniv-SNCP.

The organisation criticised the French media, which it said always favours anti-meat views. “Taking care of the media dimension is the first of our priorities, even if it means going to court when necessary,” added Sniv-SNCP.

It admitted that the French meat sector had failed to communicate clearly and inform consumers about its activities, leaving space for anti-meat groups to denigrate it in the media, as the increasingly urban French society is losing touch with its agricultural roots.

The union compared the communication strategies of the vegetable and dairy industries, which in 20 years succeeded in instilling the ‘5 a day’ and ‘3 dairy products every day’ messages into consumers’ minds, while the meat sector was “sinking”.

Sniv-SNCP added: “Leaving space to anti-meat militants means underestimating our fellow citizens’ ignorance on the realities of our sector and of the item it produces: meat. Taking advantage of this ignorance, anti-meat organisations play an ‘anti’ role always winning in the media.

“It is time for the meat sector to find its heroes and its enemy, (…) the decline of civilisation. History shows that everywhere in the world, civilisations were built on hunting, then cooking meat and finally rearing livestock, so the decline in meat consumption can reflect regression.”

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