With meat consumption twice the global average, citizens of EU27 have to reconcile environmental concerns and culinary traditions
So we’re all terrible people for eating so much meat. Except of course the number itself is staged. The 500 million folk in Europe are – near totally all perhaps – in the top 20% of the global income distribution. Certainly all in the top 40%.
Meat – hell, protein – is a luxury good, in that more of our incomes goes on it as incomes rise.
So the actual statement is “rich folks have eating habits of rich folks” which isn’t, to be honest, all that much of a surprise.
But it is also clear that if there is to be any hope of reducing the impact of global heating, that consumption level will have to fall rapidly.
And there’s the petitio principii. That’s not something that is clear in the slightest. Oh, sure, it might be true, but it’s something that has to be proven to be true. Which no one has as yet.
Greenpeace estimates that it will need to drop by 70% by the end of the decade, and down to 300g by 2050. That translates (since not all the meat that leaves slaughterhouses ends up being either sold or eaten) to each European actually eating, per week, a quantity of meat equivalent to about two good-sized hamburgers.
And that is the purest bollocks.
So, pasture locks up carbon better than any other land use. Yep, better than forests. Because it keeps doing so, year after year, it doesn’t grow then become carbon neutral when mature.
How do you farm pasture to get it to do this? With animals. At which point Greenpeace can go badger feltching.
the European Commission suggests that despite clear and growing public awareness of the importance of sustainability, EU meat consumption per capita, left to its own devices, is likely to fall by little more than 3kg a year.
Government intervention, then, will be essential,
Didjaguess that this was going to lead to some cretin in an office somewhere being able to tell you what you may do?
Germany’s Greens have suffered in recent years from being seen as a Verbotspartei, intent on banning the joys of life. A 2013 “veggie day” initiative for meat-free days at state-subsidised canteens saw the tabloid Bild complain that “the Greens want to take our meat away”.
Instead, the environmental party has used its first weeks in power to initiate a less politically exposing campaign against junk meat sold for junk prices.
Weird, we’ve a word for “junk meat sold at junk prices” which is “sausage”. Germans might even have some local lingo equivalent of that word too.