In a shock revelation this week, the Soil Association said consumers should eat more red meat to reduce the rate of climate change.

The report will no doubt anger vegetarian green campaigners, but has also upset poultry and pork producers with its suggestion that consumers should ditch white meat for red.

The Association issued a briefing paper to coincide with the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, claiming the focus for a reduction in meat consumption must be on intensively produced meat such as chicken, pork and grain-fed beef. It encourages proportionately more consumption of grass-reared beef, lamb and mutton.

"The cheap white meat era might have been attractive to some people, but it's coming to an end," said director Patrick Holden.

NFU president Peter Kendall welcomed the support for beef and lamb production, but spoke in defence of white meat. "It is a source of nutritious and affordable protein for families which is particularly important in a recession."

The British pig executive accused the Association of "single issue" politics.