The Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, has published a six-minute video on Twitter in which he asks Spaniards to eat less meat. “This video is not to scold anyone, but to reflect before the problem becomes chronic,” he advances. The campaign, framed under the label # menosCarneMásVida, seeks to educate citizens about the effects of high consumption of meat on health and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by intensive livestock farming.
“What would you think if I told you that the excessive consumption of meat damages our individual health and also that of the planet?”, Garzón begins. “I am worried (…) Without the planet we have no life, we have no wages and we have no economy. And we are taking it on ourselves. In one of the parts where we are charging it we have a direct impact. We can change our diet and improve the state of the planet “.
According to FAO data cited in the video, Spain is the country that consumes the most meat in the European Union [en 2017, últimos datos disponibles en Our World in Data, estábamos por detrás de Portugal]. The latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture noted an increase of 10.5% in 2020 in the consumption of meat in households, being the category in which we spend the most (20% of our budget for food). Per capita consumption was close to 50 kilos per year and each Spaniard spent an average of 350 euros on meat.
“In Spain every year 7.6 million tons of meat are produced, which means the sacrifice of 70 million animals,” he continues. Our country is one of the main producers of pigs and cattle in the European Union and the first producer of sheep and goats. Garzón makes a small mention at the end of the video about the economic impact of the agricultural sector, stating that “not all types of livestock are the same” and that “extensive farming is much more sustainable than large macro-farms: it helps enrich soils, prevent fires. and create jobs. ”
Several works of the Ministry of Agriculture recognize that, currently, extensive livestock farming is not well quantified or defined in Spain, although they recognize its social and environmental importance.
The minister has an impact on health and environmental problems caused by excessive meat consumption. According to AESAN, this should be between 250 and 500 grams per week and Spaniards double it: they consume an average of one kilo. The WHO has also repeatedly recommended reducing the consumption of red and processed meat.
With regard to the effects on the planet, Garzón recalls that livestock “represents 14.5% of the gases in the atmosphere”, that each kilo of beef requires 15,000 liters of water (not only to feed it but to the rest of the value chain) and that soybean crops to feed cows cause the deforestation of thousands of hectares in forests in Latin America. “Behind each steak,” he points out, “there are many things that they had not told us.”
As indicated by the Ministry, the campaign and measures around this issue go for a long time. What’s more, Garzón ends his video asking for citizen involvement. “I want you to send me your comments on how to solve a complex problem,” ditch.