To the Principal of Goldsmith University,

Today I read of your decision to ban the sale of beef related products in your university food outlets. I feel that as someone who spends his working life supporting farmers in the Ayr Presbytery for the Church of Scotland I need to write to you and voice my concerns.

The farming industry, for some reason, has been the victim of continued victimisation by many organisations, often fuelled by extremist minority views. This has then encourages others to join in and to add pressure to a fragile industry because of information that has been supplied that is false and misleading.

They highlight just one aspect of carbon emissions and ignore many others. Let me give you a very simplistic example. If I was to spend the night in the shed with my cattle breathing in their carbon I would wake the next morning with no problems. If I was to spend the night with my car engine running in the shed I would die. Does this not tell us what the biggest danger is? Animals have been on the planet since time began and there has been no problems to the environment but with mechanisation there is suddenly a problem.

The sky is full of aircrafts and flights are due to increase next year by millions I wonder how many flights have you, your staff and students been on in the past three years? I would suspect thousands and yet no one seems to criticise the aviation industry because it hits too near home and would inconvenience people too much.

People need to address the real issue of Carbon emissions and not just pick on an easy target that does not really impact on them. I have not flown in the past three years because this is my contribution to reducing my carbon footprint. Will you be urging your staff and students to do likewise?

The beef industry at the moment is at breaking point and farmers are under extreme pressure with low prices and decisions like yours impacts on small family farms as prices continue to drop. One farmer each week takes their own life in this country because of the pressure they are under, sadly I have had four suicides in my area since November.

I would like to ask you to firstly reconsider your decision and advocate buying British Beef that is reared locally, not from other parts of the world, similarly with lamb, pork and chicken.

Secondly I would like to extend to you, and any of your staff, an invitation to spend time on a British farm to see at first-hand how animals are raised and how farmers work so hard to produce food for the British people.

Yours sincerely

Rev Chris Blackshaw BA (Hons)

Farming Minister

Ayr Presbytery

Church of Scotland