In Spain, there is more and more talk about the pollution produced by the meat industry and the excessive consumption of meat. Alberto Garzón, Minister of Consumption, has launched the campaign “Less meat, more life”. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in 2020, 49.9 kilos of meat were consumed per person (10.2% more than the previous year).
This figure is between two and five times above the recommendations of WHO (World Health Organization). According to this organization, the consumption should be much lower (around 21 kilos). How will an ancient culture with a long-standing, meat-eating tradition handle the shift? Let’s see! In the meantime follow on for Spain: Now Urged to Eat Less Meat to Fight Climate Change!
It has been stated that, the pandemic and confinement has not helped meat consumption decrease, in fact, quite the opposite. The most popular type of meat is fresh meat, especially chicken and, to a lesser extent, pork and beef.
How can the increase in meat consumption affect the environment?
It should be noted that the livestock sector has a high impact on the environment. This sector emits large amounts of C02 (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere. In addition, large amounts of water are needed for the meat industry to produce, especially for beef.
It is stated that 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock, or that 15,000 liters of water are required to produce a kilo of beef.
How can meat consumption affect health?
Meat is an important source of proteins of high biological value and micronutrients. What has happened is that many studies that have been published over the years indicate that excess consumption can be harmful to our health. This could lead to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Likewise, it also depends on the type of meat consumed. It is preferable to limit the consumption of red meat and if meat is consumed, it should preferably be chicken or rabbit.
What is the solution?
The UN, the FAO and the IPCC have published in recent years, several studies on the impact of the meat sector on the climate crisis in particular and the environment overall.
What is recommended, above all, is to limit livestock production and reduce meat consumption, but not to eradicate its consumption entirely. The trend is to go towards a more vegetable or plant-based diet. It will not be easy, but it is a matter of betting on sustainability and the consumption of different foods for the sake of longevity across vital markers.
On the other hand, there are many workers and farmers who live off meat in Spain, and therefore, if all of this is carried out, the meat industry may be economically affected.
In summary, what the Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN) recommends is that you should have a moderate consumption of meat and emphasizes that you follow a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables and legumes, using olive oil for cooking and dressing.
It does not rule out the consumption of fish or meat, but it does rule out a significant consumption of these. How do you think Spain will handle the recommendation to eat less meat? Let us know in the comments below and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!