As the traditional fasting period of Lent sees some people voluntarily abstaining from eating meat, environmentalists are demanding government action to permanently reduce consumption.
German environmentalists want their fellow countrymen to change their consumption habits by reducing their meat intake by half. However, they are too impatient to rely on their own skills of persuasion. Instead they are demanding that the government prompts the move with suggested reforms such as pricing meat out of reach of the poor by increasing the seven per cent value added tax currently levied on all foodstuffs for meat alone.
It is certainly a hard ask in a country which loves its meat. The per capita consumption of meat in Germany of just over 194 lb (88.3 kg) a year is double the world average, and 20 times more than is eaten in India.
Tanja Dräger de Teran, a spokeswoman for the German branch of the Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF), believes the problem is exacerbated by cheap meat, reports German news channel N24. In addition the WWF has called on the government to “launch information campaigns to curb the consumption of meat” and reduce the amount cooked in government canteens.
Ms. Dräger de Teran believes the government should introduce a tax on over-fertilisation by farmers, blaming it for the over-saturation of soil with nutrients and poor water quality. Accelerated greenhouse gas emissions are said to be caused by the reliance on soy for animal feed.
The German Green Party agrees, decrying factory farming practices and cheap prices. Their animal welfare and consumer policy spokeswoman, Nicole Maisch, says the low cost of minced beef is “perverse” and should be raised to reflect social and environmental reality.
She warned that if everyone ate as much meat as Germans “we would need a second planet”.