'Eat less meat' is the message from Spain’s consumer affairs minister, Alberto Garzón, this week,as he launches a national campaign against the nation's excessive meat consumption - for the health of Spain's people, and of the planet.
The minister's campaign includes a six-minute video on his Twitter profile, in which he accuses the meat sector of causing 14.5% of total CO2 gas emissions, while encouraging the nation to eat less meat and put more vegetables on their plates.
“This doesn’t mean that we can’t have a family barbecue from time to time, just that we do it with a bit more restraint and that we make up for the days we eat meat by having days where we eat more salad, rice, pulses and vegetables,” the minister said.
Interestingly, Spain is the largest consumer of meat in the European Union, topping that of meat-loving near neighbours, Germany and France. "Meat production has exploded," Garzón states. "In Spain, 7.6 million tons of meat are produced every year, resulting from the slaughter of 70 million animals, pigs, cows, sheep , goats, horses, birds..."
The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition recommends between 200 and 500 grams of meat per week, whereas on average Spaniards consume nearly more than a kilo. "For us to have 1 kilo of beef, 15,000 litres of water are required" the minister tweeted.
The open call has naturally been met with resistance by the livestock sector, with Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, also appearing reluctant to give up one of his favourite dishes. “Speaking personally, a medium-rare steak is hard to beat,” he said.
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