Spain's consumer affairs minister Alberto Garzón said many Spaniards link greenhouse gas emissions with transport, leaving many unaware of the environmental effects of animal farming
Spain’s consumer affairs minister says his country needs to eat less meat if it is to fight climate change and save its vital tourism industry.
Alberto Garzón told the Guardian this week that while Spaniards know Greenhouse Gas emissions are bad for the environment, they tend to associate them with transport and cars, rather than animal farming.
Garzón believes Spain has been behind other countries when it comes to acknowledging the impact farming has on the planet – describing the topic as ‘taboo’.
The average Spaniard consumes more than 1kg of meat a week – far more than the 200g to 500g recommended by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition.
Animal farming and climate change
He said: “It was only very recently that everyone started to look at the impact of the animal consumer chain and, especially, at the impact of beef. Other countries were pretty advanced on that but in Spain it’s been a taboo.”
Discussing what could happen if the country doesn’t change its approach, he added: “If we don’t act, it won’t just be climate change we’re dealing with – it’ll be the triple crisis. The loss of biodiversity; pollution, and climate change.”
Garzón’s meat pleas
This is not the first time the minister has spoken out about the need for Spaniards to reduce their meat consumption. In July this year, he launched a campaign called Menos carne. Más vida (Less meat. More life), urging people to change their diets for the sake of their own health as well as the planet.
While he didn’t call for people to ditch animal foods entirely in a video launching the campaign, he did offer alternative options people could consider in place of meat, including salad, rice, pulses and vegetables.
He said: “Our health and the health of our families is at stake. Eating too much meat is bad for our health and for the planet.”
He has faced criticism from other ministers, as well as right-wing politicians who have accused him of getting involved with people’s lives.
However, he told the Guardian he has also received support, saying: “Civil society organisations and associations of ecologists, paediatricians, doctors and nutritionists all came out to defend us all the way.”
Fancy trying Spanish food without the animal products? Give our Spanish omelette recipe a go.