The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has criticised a new marketing campaign for vegan food brand Oatly for what it called a ‘serious misuse of statistics’.

In the new adverts for the oat-based drink, a man is criticised by his son for drinking cow’s milk. Oatly posted a tweet including the advert saying ‘the dairy and meat industries emit more CO2e [CO2 equivalent] than all the world’s planes, trains, cars, boats etc combined’.

But government figures show that emissions from UK agriculture stand at 9 per cent the total – with just 3.7 per cent coming from cattle and sheep - compared to 27 per cent from transport.

Mark Bridgeman, president of the CLA which represents 30,000 rural businesses across Wales and England, said: “We have no problem with oat drinks – and encourage manufacturers to support British farmers. But we do have a problem with peddling misinformation and half-truths.

“There are Welsh farmers who are among those who lead the world in lower greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

"Emissions from British beef, for example, are 50 per cent lower than the global average. Just 3.7 per cent of the UK’s emissions come from cattle and sheep, a fraction that of the transport sector. So telling British consumers that their dairy and meat industries are somehow more damaging to the environment than transport is a serious misuse of statistics.

“Pitching people against one another is deeply unhelpful. Farmers and food brands need to work together to improve sustainability, and Oatly really should know the lengths that British farmers are going to in order to drive their emissions down further still.

“There is a place for oat drinks on the market, but Oatly should concentrate on convincing consumers of the quality of their product rather than simply trying to put down the competition.”

*This refers to carbon dioxide equivalent a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases on the basis of their global warming potential by converting amounts of other gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide with the same global warming potential.