It is vitally important the voices which shout loudest are not the only ones a farmer hears - Sophie McCandlish

The behaviour of media, both mainstream and social has been under scrutiny of late following the experiences of people in the public eye.

Yorkshire Post Agricultural Correspondent Sophie McCandlish

Irresponsible journalism has been called out by many, including this publication’s editor and people have urged keyboard warriors to remember there is a person at the other end of that post.

These high profile cases have rightly prompted people to speak out and it is invaluable to have public figures talking about it, bringing it out into the open and providing a voice for those who are not always heard.

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Farmers have been on the receiving end of criticism and hostility on both medias and at the NFU conference this week, Minette Batters raised the issue saying she wanted “an end to the victimisation by some activists against our livestock farmers”.

I returned to the consulting room triumphantly clutching a glass and scooped Hammy into it - Julian NortonI was constantly urged to run faster 'gallop mummy, we need to keep up' - Jill ThorpShe went on to say that people needed to remember that at the heart of every farming business is a family and everyone – including the media –needs to think about the real-life consequences of their words and actions.

Mrs Batters is referring to the deluge farmers have faced over the past year or so, particularly from vegan and environmental activists.

While no-one disputes the right for everyone to have their own opinion and make their own lifestyle choice we also, as Mrs Batters said, need to think about others if we choose to voice them.

The agricultural industry is dealing with a great deal at the moment and while it may seem there are bigger issues on the agenda, for some it must raise the question of ‘why am I doing this?’ Farming is a tough profession and one of the main reasons it is done is to provide food.

So many farmers say that is what they are proud of. And the majority of people appreciate that.

We know from farm shops and farmers’ markets, people increasingly care where the food on their plates is produced, how the animals are cared for and how far it has travelled to reach them.

It is vitally important the voices which shout loudest are not the only ones a farmer hears.

To once again quote Mrs Batters in a world where there seems to be increasing polarisation, we mustn’t forget we’re all human.