In a controversial move, Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has banned meat at official department functions for environmental reasons, claiming its production accounts for up to a third of greenhouse gas emissions.
The ban was revealed in an e-mail from a senior civil servant, who said service providers and caterers for department events should not use ‘fish or fish products and meat or meat products’ in order to combat the ‘negative effects of meat consumption’ and ‘set a good example’.
Other requirements include using only organic products and ‘seasonal and regional food with short transport distances’. Fair trade products were also listed as ‘preferable’.
Christian Schmidt, Germany’s Food Minister, strongly disagreed with the new rules, which have applied since the end of January.
He said: “I am not having this Veggie Day though the back door. I believe in diversity and freedom of choice, not nanny-statism and ideology. Meat and fish are part of a balanced diet.”
The German ban was quickly seized upon by campaigners as something which should be replicated in the UK. George Monbiot said on Twitter the environmental case for the ban was ‘rock solid’.
“I have lost count of the ‘environmental’ meetings in the UK at which beef, smoked salmon etc are served”, he added.
“Time to practice what we preach.”
I have lost count of the "environmental" meetings in the UK at which beef, smoked salmon etc are served. Time to practice what we preach.— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot)
I have lost count of the "environmental" meetings in the UK at which beef, smoked salmon etc are served. Time to practice what we preach.— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) February 23, 2017
Charles Sercombe, chair of the NFU’s livestock board, said: “I suppose it is inevitable there will be calls from people like Monbiot with a single issue agenda who are determined to promote their views above all else.
“I would like to think in this country we would take a more balanced view and realise the vast majority of commentators feel meat or fish are part of a healthy, balanced diet. I would be very surprised if any of our Government departments introduced anything like this.”