I saw an advert recently for a meat substitute, which claimed it was greener than minced beef.

While that can doubtless be made to stack up to satisfy advertising standards, it is hard to believe the product of an industrial process can be better for the environment than that of an animal grazed on green pastures.

This is part of a new and insidious message that meat eating is bad and must be discouraged – recently, Boris Johnson had to reassure people he had no plans to impose a green tax on meat. This was done in a less than convincing way – a far cry from the old Boris that would have condemned such a suggestion as nonsense and piffle.

He would have suggested this was more akin to something the EU would come up with, but like all politicians he has bought into the argument that you offend the green lobby at your peril.

The drip on the stone of anti-red meat publicity in particular is relentless. Brexit was supposed to be about escaping the green policies of the CAP, but the UK now seems to determined to match and even outdo EU green policies.

For both these are measured with the blunt tool of carbon reduction. Whether Brussels, or London-inspired, all these plans have agriculture in their sights. There is a sound case for delivering a better environment, but the arguments need to be better.

Agriculture cannot allow itself to be cast as the bad guy. The EU has taken this to ridiculous levels, with a switch in food promotion away from meat, the main output of European agriculture, to organics which are and will remain a tiny share of agriculture.

The UK has not gone that far yet, but farmers can be sure this thinking is on the political radar of many groups. The link between meat consumption and prosperity is well established.

The growth of a middle class, particularly in China, has been a big driver of global demand. Now, with scant justification, it is being claimed that in China vegan diets to indicate concern for the environment are the new measure of prosperity.

Stories like this, which are rarely challenged, are part of the steady drip undermining the cornerstone of agriculture. Even the farming lobby now has to stress its green credentials as a justification for funding.

It is no longer acceptable to say it was farming and the business of farming that shaped and maintains the countryside. What is being asked of agriculture is not radical – it is a change of emphasis in what the industry has done for generations.

Agriculture must make this clear and has no need to be apologetic for all that has gone before. Accepting the case for action on climate change cannot be about farming getting into bed with its harshest critics.

It cannot allow red meat – as a key part of the industry – to be demonised and made socially unacceptable. That might sound far-fetched, but it is happening.

It is at the centre of the new approach to agricultural support in the EU. If Brexit is to mean anything, then it must not happen here.

The industry can accept some of the green arguments, whilst making clear it is proud of its track record in livestock production.

A member of the European Parliament, challenging EU's most recent anti-meat plans, claimed a good steak and a glass of red wine were central to the European way of life and must not be attacked.

He is right and in 'the good old days', that is how Boris Johnson would have noisily dismissed suggestions of a green tax on beef. But like the old 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' film, he has been taken over by the green pods.

In the midst of this onslaught credit has to go to the European Livestock Voice body, which is challenging anti-meat thinking. It raised concerns about the onward march of synthetic meat and the fact that more and more international bodies are backing lab grown meat.

For EU agriculture, it said what is being gambled with is an industry that accounts for 45% of the EU's positive trade balance with the rest of the world and employs 30m people across Europe.

Its arguments are one-sided, as are those being channelled against the industry, but its meatthefacts.eu website is a great source of ammunition farmers can use to defend their industry.