New friction within the Government, this time on behalf of the agri-food sector. The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, denies the greatest and openly criticizes the statements made on Wednesday by his fellow cabinet member, the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, against the abuse of red meat in food. The also leader of the United Left published a video on Twitter arguing that avoiding consumption improves health and combats climate change. The answer has not taken long: early this Thursday, Minister Planas has answered in a calm but clear tone: “Pointing the finger at the meat sector does not seem fair to me.”
“I do not like to get into polemics and even less with a colleague from the Government,” Planas began in an interview on the SER network. And he continued: “My opinion is that the livestock sector is being subjected to profoundly unfair criticism and deserves respect for the honest work it does for all of us in food and in the economy.” In addition, he assured that Garzón had not transmitted the launch of said campaign to him.
Garzón clarified his words late on Wednesday, after the Spanish meat sector expressed in an open letter its amazement at the words of the minister: “What we say is not that we have to stop consuming meat, but that we have to the levels recommended by science, between 200 and 500 grams per week. In Spain today more than a kilo is consumed ”, said Garzón.
The Minister of Agriculture has avoided the debate on the benefits or not of meat consumption, and has limited himself to pointing out that what is necessary is a varied and balanced diet. He also recalled that meat consumption has been reduced year by year in the last decade, except in 2020, when there were profound changes in consumption due to the pandemic and home confinement.
Planas has also used the economic argument to defend the field sector. “Our ranchers are part of the wealth of the nation,” he said in the SER, while he has estimated the amount of livestock in exports at about 10,000 million euros, between 15% and 20% of the total value of what is sold by Spain abroad.
Livestock associations charge against Garzón
In an open letter to the Minister of Consumption, the presidents of six national livestock associations (pork, beef, rabbit, poultry and sheep) showed their anger at the campaign and deny the claims made by Garzón. “The six signatory Interprofessional Organizations [Asici, Avianza, Intercun, Interovic, Interporc y Provacuno] We want to express the amazement of the hundreds of thousands of farmers, companies, workers and technicians from all over Spain linked to the livestock and meat sectors that we represent before the campaign signed by yourself and the ministry of which you are the owner, in which you defame to the whole of the livestock-meat sector ”.
The representatives of the agri-food sector, in addition, maintain that it is worrying that a series of erroneous statements is made from the Executive. “It is worrying that a minister of the Government of Spain makes a series of erroneous or unfocused statements, and also do so through public channels, trying to create an artificial confrontation with a sector, the livestock-meat sector, which plays a social and economic role. of the first magnitude in our country ”, they add in the letter to the head of Consumption.
This is not the first clash between the rural sector and the United We Can wing of the Government, with which it has already had its tensions, especially due to the plan against fraudulent temporality. The letter also states that, according to FAO, the sector generates more than 2.5 million jobs in Spain and what contributes to the country’s economy. “It is irresponsible to use the data in an interested way when there is a lot of data available from the Government of which it is a part, such as official consumption data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food or the data from the National Inventory of Greenhouse Gases of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge ”, settle the representatives of the field.