First modification: 07/09/2021 – 04:22
Members of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s progressive cabinet are discussing whether or not citizens should be discouraged from consuming so much ham, beef and other animal proteins.
“For me, where they put a steak to the point … that’s unbeatable,” said this Thursday, July 8, from Lithuania the head of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez.
The intervention would have gone unnoticed, had it not been for the fact that the amount of meat that Spaniards eat was put this week at the center of the political debate and, incidentally, shook the unity of the ruling coalition in that country, the largest consumer of the European Union.
It all started with an unusual campaign launched by the Iberian country’s Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, Alberto Garzón, leader of Izquierda Unida, for citizens to consider putting less meat on their plates.
“What would you think if I told you that the excessive consumption of meat harms our health and also our planet?”, He expressed in a video that in a short time aroused all kinds of opinions.
“I am concerned about the health of our fellow citizens and the health of our planet, without the planet we have no life, without the planet we have no wages, we have no economy, and we are destroying it. We can change our diet and improve the state of the planet, “he said.
A controversial recommendation
In a country famous for its extensive production and consumption of ham, chorizo and other animal proteins, and whose exports depend on a fifth of the meat industry, invitations such as Alberto Garzón’s are seen by many as “irresponsible”.
The Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, on Cadena Ser radio, rebuked the campaign “Less meat, more life” launched by his cabinet colleague and described it as “unfortunate” and “unfair” for an industry of about 11,800 million dollars. per year, which employs 2.5 million people.
“Ranchers don’t deserve this,” Planas said during the interview. “The industry is being subjected to profoundly unfair criticism and deserves respect for the honest work it does for all of us in the food and economy.”
A platform representing the six main industrial associations published an open letter describing the campaign of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs as “defamatory”. Anafric, one of those organizations, accused the minister of “criminalizing” an industry that “has adapted to both European and global environmental standards.”
Minister Garzón cited data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that showed Spain as the main consumer of meat in the European Union: 98 kilograms per person per year compared to a European Union average of 76 kilograms.
In turn, he reported that 70 million cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and other farm animals are slaughtered as food each year in Spain, a country of 47 million, and that meat production, in particular, requires disproportionate amounts of water and releases greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.
In short, against the oligopolistic model of industrial livestock that colonizes the territory in our country and in the Global South, we defend #LessCarneMejorCarne. For a living rural world, with Food Sovereignty and Agroecology, we do not want to be the world’s swine maquila. pic.twitter.com/2AiWFv0k30
– Ecologists in Action (@ecologists) July 8, 2021
Environmental and animal rights groups, such as Greenpeace, have applauded Garzón’s campaign, but urged the government to take more concrete action, particularly against carbon-intensive industrial agriculture.
With AP and Reuters