SPAIN: A Spanish minister has been called out by members of his own coalition government over his attempt to reduce meat consumption in a country famed for its ham, chorizo sausage and a plethora of other animal produce.
This week Consumer Affairs Minister, Alberto Garzón, launched the campaign “Less meat, more life” to encourage Spaniards to eat less meat, reported BBC.
Agriculture Minister Luis Planas, on Cadena Ser radio, condemned Garzón’s campaign saying, “It seems to me the campaign is unfortunate,” adding that it denigrated the work of Spain’s farmers.
In response, Garzón said in a video on Twitter, “Eating too much meat is bad for our health and for the planet.” He also added that he has suffered health problems from eating too much meat.
The clash was a window to the country of tensions between the two parties of the ruling coalition, whilst highlighting an ongoing debate in society about animal farming’s role in stoking planet-warming carbon emissions.
Planas belongs to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party, which has a strong presence in some rural areas, supported by traditional working-class voters. Garzón’s more radical Unidas Podemos depends on urban and younger progressive voters.
The UPA agricultural union also rebuked the campaign, stating it “misleading, fraudulent and irresponsible.” The union also stressed the economic role of cattle-rearing in Spain’s depopulated rural areas.
Pablo Casado, leader of the conservative People’s Party with the support of opposition politicians said, “Don’t tell us what we have to do in our home and instead go home.”
Animal rights and environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, have favoured Garzón’s campaign but urged the government to take more concrete action, particularly against carbon-intensive industrial farming.
Prime Minister Sanchez, when asked about the row while on a trip to Lithuania, weighed in on the side of the carnivores.
“For me, there’s nothing that beats a well done T-bone steak,” he said.