Alternative proteins are gaining popularity as consumers become more concerned with the sustainability of traditional livestock farming.

Rural commentator Don Carson spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay about alternative proteins, saying that often people's worries about the meat industry apply to overseas operations and not New Zealand.

"The first thing is that we have to clearly differentiate sheep and beef farming in New Zealand from the feedlot operations in other countries."

Although there are a few feedlot operations in New Zealand, they are not representative of the meat industry says Carson, who is annoyed with reports of intensive farming based on overseas figures, "which is certainly not applicable to New Zealand."

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Carson says New Zealand's meat industry will have to continue to produce quality products and then make sure they are promoted in other countries.

"We must strive for quality and really get it right ... we also must make sure we have a grass-fed strategy [and] lower intensity livestock perhaps, and tell that story all over the world."

Animal welfare is another concern for consumers and Carson believes there should be cameras installed to monitor "weak points" in all meat works and stock transportation operations.

"It sounds like an intrusion but it's already happening in some processing plants and it should be universal so we can hold up our hands and say we have the highest standards of animal welfare in the world."

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