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12 Jan 2021, 13:52
Kerstine Appunn

German NGOs call for major changes to industrial meat production to protect climate

Clean Energy Wire

German NGOs Heinrich Böll Stiftung and BUND have called for major changes to industrial meat production to reduce climate-harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the sector. The government must set the framework that supports citizens in reducing their meat consumption and at the same time orients production towards more quality and animal welfare, they say in the new edition of the “Meat Atlas 2021,” which compiles data on meat production and consumption. Germany, as the largest meat producer in Europe (8.6 million tonnes per year), is intensifying global warming, the NGOs warned. The livestock industry is causing 14 percent of global climate gases, but while even oil companies, such as Exxon, have climate strategies, nothing comparable exists in the meat production sector, they said. Livestock production is responsible for 56-58 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions from the food sector, while meat only provides 37 percent of global protein and 18 percent of the world’s calories, the report states. “There is no country in the world, nor any UN agency, that has and applies a comprehensive strategy to reduce meat consumption and production to a level that is safe for health and the environment,” Barbara Unmüßig from the Heinrich Böll Stiftung said in a press release.

Meat consumption in Germany is an average 60 kg per person per year, compared to 100 kg in Australia and the US and 50 kg in China. In African countries the average is 17 kg. Bad waste management means that the equivalent of some nine million chickens, 640,000 pigs and 50,000 cattle are discarded in Germany every year by private households. A survey conducted among young Germans between 15 and 29 years of age showed that they were more open to reducing their meat consumption: 40 percent of young people said they ate meat only occasionally. Twenty-five percent described themselves as flexitarians (semi-vegetarians), while 13 percent followed a vegetarian or vegan diet. That is twice as many as the average for the population as a whole, the Meat Atlas stated.

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