image from ukgermanconnection.org
Germans are being urged to say "nein, danke" ( no thanks) to wiener schnitzel*. The government is urging people to return to their old pre-war habits of eating meat only for special occasions. Now it is considered normal to eat meat every day, indeed "for too many, eating meat is too closely connected with manliness." The government is suggesting that a Sunday roast and more interest in the Mediterranean style of diet would be better for the population and the planet.
The Germans are among the biggest meat eaters in Europe--getting 39% of their total calorie intake from it, as compared with the Italians who get 25%.
image from epicurious.blogs.com
It would seem that the Germans are not that interested in vegetarianism; the number of vegetarians has grown from 0.4% in 1983, to 10% now. However young women are becoming more motivated by environmental concerns, as opposed to the men.
The problem with meat consumption is the that its production causes greenhouse gas emissions. In fact meat production accounts for nearly one fifth of global emissions. In Germany, agriculture was responsible for 15% of German emissions, and meat production was the largest part. The World Wildlife Fund also supports the claim that meat production is damaging to the environment. According to its recent reports "a single kilogramme of beef requires 16,000 litres of water, taking into account a three-year lifespan for a cow, the grain it eats in its lifetime, and the water it drinks."
In the UK the government estimates that "kilo-for-kilo, compared with bread, emissions linked to poultry farming are more than four times as high, to pork six times as high, and to beef and lamb 16 times. Besides this, tropical forest is cleared to allow feed-crops, also a source of emissions." Today the National Health Service is calling for all hospitals to cut back on the meat and dairy served to patients, in a bid to cut emissions. Hospitals account for 3% of all emissions in England, and "if the NHS was a country it would have been ranked as the 81st biggest polluter in the world, between Estonia and Bahrain." Guardian
* wiener schnitzel--breaded veal cutlet