Dear Sir

At a time when the locality is yet again flooded or threatened from flood water the publishing of a letter without thought to the suffering, incessant upheaval and worry to your readers is both insensitive and irresponsible. Indeed, the letter was scientifically incorrect and misleading.

Climate change has increased the frequency and ferocity of our storms. Our government thinks this will continue and has published a document detailing these: The Climate Impacts Tool. Of specific interest in this are the predictions about the rise in river flows of between 25% and 50% within 30 years.

One of the major causes of climate change is meat and dairy farming. The evidence for this is accepted by the scientific community, our government and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein whilst using the vast majority, 83%, of farmland. Cows, sheep and goats are responsible for 80% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The average UK subsidy per farm is £24,900. Our government, then, is using our money to support cattle farming that accelerates the rate of climate change and increases the chance of our homes being flooded!

Farming subsidies make the meat and dairy industry an economically viable proposition in this country. As meat and dairy are the main cause of agricultural climate impacts then our current system of agricultural subsidy is causing harm to our livelihoods and the climate, increasing the risk of further weather disruption in the form of more ferocious winds, flooding and droughts.

Farmers today are in an invidious position, with traditional meat markets declining, lambasted for polluting but being paid to do so. Farming in the future will continue to be essential for our wellbeing both as a supplier of food and basis of our fightback against climate change. Tree planting and traditional carbon sequestration, straw incorporation for example, need to be supported with new government subsidies. Profitable farms are essential for our future, but activities should help- not hinder- our climate predicament. The time has come to refocus farming subsidies and support farmers properly.

Governmental action changing farm subsidies to reward farmers properly by far greater rewilding, increased forestry, more soil sequestration and the introduction of new crop varieties for wetter lands is needed now. A further advantage of such a bold move would be to reduce the speed water gets into our rivers (thereby reducing flash flooding) and to improve our wonderful country by increasing species diversity and restoring the habitats for our native species.

Unfortunately, organic meat and dairy farming is no better for our climate. It is also more land intensive. Organic cattle farming does not alter the problem of methane released from cattle by belching and from their dung. Such cattle farming requires increased land to support the cattle and of all the food energy eaten by cattle less than 20% is available for eventual human consumption Indeed, by using straw for bedding, the cycle of land destruction is continued, soil drainage is damaged, soil fertility reduced and carbon storage decimated.

A vegan diet, if intelligently followed, is regarded as perfectly healthy. The NHS thinks so The one problem with such a diet is no more bacon sandwiches! A price worth paying?

Extinction Rebellion - Cirencester