Policies & Politics

Published on January 24th, 2009 | by Scott James

German Government Advisory: Eat Meat Only on Special Ocassions

Germany’s environmental issues advisory body issued a strong advisory for German people to lower their meat consumption, effectively asking the population to eat meat only on special occasions. The advisory board cited that 15% of Germany’s greenhouse gases come from agriculture. Dramatically reducing meat consumption will diminish Germany’s carbon footprint.

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“We must rethink our high meat consumption,” said Andreas Troge, president of the government’s environmental issues advisory body.

The recommendation has been met with strong resistance from agriculture and meat industry lobbyists. Advocates in favor of the status-quo meat consumption argue that consumers deserve to make their own decisions about what they eat while mounting environmental data exposes the disproportionate impact made by raising meat for increasing consumption versus comparable caloric intake from vegetarian sources.

Compassion in World Farming, an anti-factory farming organization, claims that cutting says meat-eating by 50% would be more effective than the same reduction in transport use.

Image credit: LordKhan on Flickr under creative commons license


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About the Author

Scott James lives and plays in San Francisco, enjoying good coffee, innovative minds and challenging conversation.



  • terry

    Here is a good video on meat: http://meat.org

  • “Meat consumption is a luxury of the developed world and the rich.”

    Amen! It is a luxury and an oppressive privilege, and meat-eating has colonized the world from the global North to the global South. It is time for humankind to kind, and we also need a non-anthropocentric attitude, one that respects the environment and other sentient species and not only as first benefits humans’ fickle desires.

  • Heath Watts

    The local food idea very poor, and it only works if you live in a climate where varied foods are available. As an example of local food, people actually grow wheat in the U.S. state of Arizona. Wheat requires huge amounts of water to grow and little water is available in Arizona, so it is very ecologically unsound to eat wheat grown locally in Arizona. Local food is an unfeasible idea. When humans ate locally, our life expectancy was much shorter. Humans need a more varied diet of grains, fruits, and vegetables that may not be available locally.

    If people stopped eating meat, we’d have plenty of food (livestock consume 70% of our crops) and fuel (a quarter pound of meat requires about 100 liters of petroleum to produce it) for all people. Meat consumption is a luxury of the developed world and the rich. While we snack on Big Macs, Africa and Asia starve. Go vegan and you won’t have to worry about eating local foods.

  • Lenore

    There are tons of ways to eat a meat-free (or meat-minimum) diet without relying on vegetables that are out of season. Figure out what is readily available locally to you year round at your local grocer or Co-Op, and tailor your meals around when you can get certain things. At our house, we had a “phased withdrawal” of meat. We started by cutting out red meat in our diets (at home and eating out), and after a month we cut out pork. We’re getting ready to cut out chicken, and then fish. What meat we are eating is locally farmed.

  • Paddy II

    Totally. More vegetarians means:

    * less methane emissions -> less global warming

    * less deforestation -> less global warming

    * less unhappy animals in slaughterhouses

    * less unhappy workers in slaughterhouses

    * less heart disease in the general population

  • SNZ

    Sara: I think the ultimate goal of the proposal would be to eventually have all the slaughter houses and animal farms replaced with vegetable production units instead. I don’t think Germans would be too happy about giving up German raised food for the much more expensive imported versions.

  • sara

    This sounds good in principle, but if you’re eating a bunch of out-of-season veggies that come from far away (and therefore have to be shipped using fossil fuels, etc.), it’s just as bad. It might be better to eat a burger from a locally-raised, grass-fed cow than those well-traveled vegetables. Basically, if you want to be a conscientious eater, be aware of the source and history of your food.

  • george

    If you actually want to do this here is a video that will help you out a little: http://meat.org

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