Agency says Germans should eat less meat

Germany’s Federal Environmental Agency is encouraging consumers in the bratwurst-loving country to cut back on meat products to benefit the climate, daily Berliner Zeitung reported on Thursday.

Agency says Germans should eat less meat
Mooooooove over meat products! Photo: DPA

“We should think more about our high meat consumption,” agency head Andreas Troge told the paper.

“I recommend a return to Sunday roasts and an orientation on Mediterranean eating habits,” he said, adding that such a lifestyle change was good for one’s health in addition to reducing our carbon footprint. “And it hardly means a reduction in quality of life.”

According to the Federal Environmental Agency, agriculture is responsible for some 15 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Meat production is particularly energy intensive, and therefore more damaging to the warming climate, the paper reported.

This in addtition to the methane gas emitted by cattle, their dung also produces dangerous nitrous oxide, Troge said.

A 2008 report from Federal Statistics Agency Destatis showed that meat consumption has dropped steadily since the early 1990’s, due mainly to health concerns. In 1991, Germans ate 64 kilogrammes of meat per year – more than a Big Mac per day. By 2006, Germans were averaging 58.7 kilogrammes of meat per year – closer to a Quarter Pounder per day.

But pork, which Destatis calls the German’s most “popular” meat, has hardly suffered any loss in consumption in the last 20 years, the report said. Of the German’s overall meat consumption, it makes up the majority, remaining between a yearly average of 38.8 and 41 kilogrammes per person.