M.Another commentator in Spain believed that Alberto Garzón had already been processed into political “Steak Tatar”. The Spanish consumer protection minister, however, survived the major cabinet reshuffle, although his latest demands had also aroused the displeasure of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. “For me, a medium-fried steak is unbeatable,” said the Prime Minister. He was responding to Garzón’s recommendation to reduce meat consumption – for the sake of health and climate protection. But his new “Less Meat, More Life” campaign ended in a storm of bipartisan outrage in Spain over the weekend. Garzón only survived this because he is one of the ministers of the junior partner Podemos in the left-wing coalition, over which the head of government cannot decide.
Because not only the Spanish meat producers see a declaration of war in the words of the minister. The conservative newspaper ABC accuses him of a “crusade against the flesh”. Breeders accuse the minister of being a “liar” and having no idea of the important contribution they are making to the nutrition of the country. There is also criticism from his cabinet colleagues. “This campaign is just as wrong as the statement that sugar kills,” says Agriculture and Food Minister Luis Planas.
Economic dependence on meat consumption
Meat production plays an important role in the Spanish economy. This is particularly true of Iberian ham, which is also in great demand abroad. Nine of the total of 28 billion euros that the industry recently earned came from exports. Overall, the industry accounts for 2.3 percent of Spain’s economic output. Around two and a half million jobs depend on it.
The Spaniards themselves ate less and less meat in recent years – until the corona pandemic began and demand increased: From 45.2 kilograms per person in 2019 to 49.9 kilograms in 2020. Germans consume more in comparison: At 57.3 kilograms per person, consumption last year was lower than ever since the statistics began in 1989.