The president of NFU Scotland (NFUS) has stepped in after farmers reacted angrily and threatened to withhold donations to two national cancer charities who are encouraging its supporters to give up meat for a month.
One of the charities has already announced it is no longer promoting their campaign.
Cancer Research UK is urging people to take the Veg Pledge and go vegetarian or vegan for a month.
Meanwhile, Macmillan Cancer Support launched a Meat Free March campaign where participants are encouraged to “stay strong” and “try not to think about burgers”.
Those taking part are asked to sign up for a fundraising pack and JustGiving page to attract sponsorship.
However, the campaigns have attracted an angry backlash from the farming community, with some threatening to withhold donations.
NFUS has said it is “regrettable” the charities, which provide such a valuable service and are supported greatly by the agricultural community, appear to have been caught up in the recent ill-informed debate on livestock production, diet and climate change.
Union president Andrew McCornick said: “It’s important that the facts around the role of meat, dairy and eggs in a healthy diet and Scottish farming’s green credentials are fairly represented and these charities have a responsibility to do that.”
Both charities have said their campaigns are short-term with the aim of raising money to fund their work.
Heather Pearl from Macmillan Cancer Support said the programme was “not aimed at encouraging people to go meat free forever.”
She said: “Meat Free March has had fewer registrations than we’d hoped for and we’re no longer promoting it.”
Sarah Pickersgill, head of marketing services at Cancer Research UK, said: “For anyone that decides to take part, our focus is encouraging them to get sponsorship and raise money for life-saving research.”