Farmers in Pembrokeshire, alongside Countryside Alliance Wales, have expressed anger at Pembrokeshire County Council, after the council asked its staff to eat less meat and dairy.

An internal newsletter sent out to staff urged employees to cut back on meat and dairy, citing it as one of the ‘biggest ways’ to ‘reduce your impact on the planet.’

The council said the newsletter was part of a series of tips for saving the planet, with details gathered from an external source.

It said the statement was reproduced out of context and is no longer shared.

Countryside Alliance Wales has since asked the council to ‘pledge its wholehearted support’ for Welsh farmers by committing to only source local produce.

Rachel Evans, the Alliance’s director for Wales said: “What local farmers in Wales need right now is to know local representatives have their back and for them not to be briefing against their industry behind closed doors.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that an animal rights agenda is masquerading itself as genuine environmentalism, which in this case has been legitimatised by the local council.

“Pembrokeshire County Council should be transparent about who the ‘external source’ is and whether taxpayers are funding their inappropriate advice.

“In order for farmers to maintain our beautiful countryside here in Wales, we need people to continue buying their produce, including meat and dairy. Without a buoyant market for it, the countryside risks deteriorating.”

Pembrokeshire’s local political community have also waded in.

Former Pembrokeshire County Council leader and independent councillor, John Davies, called the message "a wrong one," while the Liberal Democrats said councils should not be "trying to dictate what staff can and cannot eat."

Samuel Kurtz, Senedd members for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, said: "Pembrokeshire is renowned for its fantastic agricultural produce, of high quality and sustainability, so the industry would expect support from the local authority."

Plaid Cymru added that communities "must redouble" efforts to support local businesses and food producers in the face of the rising cost of living.

In response, a Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “This information was a small part of a much larger internal newsletter and not an instruction to colleagues.

“The newsletter has been featuring a series of ‘climate change tip of the week’ posts each week which have been extracted from an external source.  

“The statement was reproduced out of context and the newsletter has been withdrawn.  

The council is extremely supportive of our rural community and agriculture in general.”