Spain’s carne conflict highlights scale of Europe’s meat emissions challenge
Minister provokes fierce backlash after suggesting Spaniards should eat less meat.
By Eddy Wax, POLITICO
July 13, 2021
It's not a good time to organize a barbecue for Spain's ruling politicians.
In the past few days, the left-wing coalition government has been bickering over meat-eating. Consumer Affairs Minister Alberto Garzón from the hard-left Podemos party appeared to take the rest of the government by surprise when he launched a campaign called "Less meat, more life," urging Spaniards to consume less meat for the sake of their health and the planet.
The campaign ignited a national debate about the impact of a carnivorous diet, and Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez pithily slapped down his minister, saying: “A perfect steak, that’s unbeatable for me.”
The internal fight came just as Brussels prepared to unleash a gigantic stack of climate legislation called the Fit for 55 package on Wednesday, intending to slash the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by the end of the decade.
But Spain's debate on the climate impact of farming animals shows just how tricky it will be to get Europe's livestock sector to change its polluting ways, especially as meat-eating is so firmly rooted in many EU countries' cultures.
The word Sánchez used for steak in his response was the almost untranslatable chuletón — a Spanish delicacy, similar to a T-bone, typically made from cows raised in the north of Spain.
Consumer protections minister Garzón, a 35-year-old communist and economist, announced his campaign in a six-minute video on Twitter, viewed more than 900,000 times since last Wednesday. "Eating too much meat damages our health and also that of the planet," he said in the video, which contains a split-screen image merging a cow with the exhaust-pipe end of a car...
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