HEALTH minister Alberto Garzon has launched a campaign encouraging Spaniards to eat less meat, after research revealed Spain chomps its way through more meat than any country in the EU.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Spain consumes an average of 98 kilos of meat per person a year, 22 kilos more than the average consumption of any other EU country. The report also highlighted how high meat consumption can impact the planet.

This new information sparked Garzon to launch his campaign: Less meat, more life. 

“What would you think if I told you that the excessive consumption of meat harms our health and also our planet?” he said in a Twitter video.

“I am concerned about the health of our fellow citizens and the health of our planet. Without the planet we have no life, without the planet we have no wages, we have no economy, and we are destroying it. We can change our diet and improve the state of the planet,” he said.

But Garzon’s plea didn’t go down too well with everyone.

Cabinet minister Luis Planas felt it was ‘unfair’ for Spain’s meat industry, which is a major contributor to the country’s economy. 

His view was echoed by many in the livestock-meat sector in an open letter.

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Spain consumes more meat than any country in the EU. Credit: FAO

Garzon defended his campaign in multiple interviews, citing that 70 million animals are slaughtered for food a year in Spain, to produce 7.6 million tons of meat. 

Garzon mentioned that meat production of this scale requires ‘a disproportionate amount of water and releases greenhouse gases responsible for global warming’. 

“For us to have one kilo of beef, 15,000 litres of water are required,” said Garzon. “And scientific evidence shows 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock, especially macro-farms.”

The recommended meat consumption by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition is between 200 and 500 grams per week. In Spain, consumption is much closer to one kilo.

“My responsibility is to protect the health of people and the planet. Spain threatens to be a desert in a few decades. I refuse to do that,” said Garzon.

“We are bringing this upon ourselves. One thing we can change, which has a direct impact on the planet, is our diet. We can change our diet and improve the state of the planet,” added Garzon.

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