Meat eaters should be treated in the same way as smokers and targeted with ad campaigns urging them to become vegetarians, according to Labour’s new spokeswoman for the farming industry.

Kerry McCarthy, who has admitted she is a “militant” vegan, was appointed shadow environment secretary in Jeremy Corbyn’s front-bench team, alarming countryside campaigners who warned that her veganism and strong opposition to hunting and the badger cull would harm Britain’s farming industry.

She said that although progress had been made to improve animal welfare, ultimately people needed to give up meat or dairy if they really wanted to protect animals.

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