Now we have finally come to the end of Veganuary, I thought it would be an ideal time to redress the balance.

We are organic farmers producing grass fed calves for beef production.

These calves are born in the spring and suckled on their mothers through the summer at grass until they are weaned at around nine months of age.

Our cattle are only fed on grass or home produced winter feed which is either hay or silage.

No extra feed is brought in from other sources meaning we are entirely self-sufficient for feed.

The only product we do bring in is straw for winter bedding, which is a by-product of wheat or barley from other local farms.

Many articles have been written over the last month which suggest that we should all stop eating meat, eggs and dairy products, keep no livestock and change to plant based diets.

I would like to point out some inescapable problems with this plan.

1) Around half of all the farmland in the UK cannot, for various reasons, be ploughed or cultivated to grow crops, meaning it has to be grazed. If this land is not farmed with grazing livestock, it will very quickly revert to jungle, meaning the public could not enjoy access to vast areas of land as they do now.

2) It is unlikely that a balanced, healthy vegan diet could be maintained from UK produce alone which rather defeats the objective if we need to fly in all sorts of alternatives - this is not sustainable.

3) Most people would agree, I think, that farmers generally maintain the countryside, keeping it tidy and giving us many stunning views and landscapes. Without the help of grazing animals, this would all be a distant memory as many farmers would be out of business.

4) Farming not only provides employment in its own right but also creates jobs in many varied businesses throughout the UK - most of these people would become unemployed, unless someone is going to pay them to cut down brambles and jungle.

My conclusion from all these points is that the entire fabric of rural Britain exists in its current form only due to centuries of hard work from the farming community and grazing livestock.

I respectfully suggest that the vegan community should think very carefully about what they wish for, before it’s too late.

John Cullimore