Spain’s agriculture minister Luis Planas and consumer affairs minister Alberto Garzon clashed publicly on Thursday over Garzon’s recently launched “Less meat, more life” campaign.
With the campaign, Garzon hopes to encourage people to eat less meat to improve their health and care for the planet in a country famous for its ham and sausages.
“It seems to me the campaign is unfortunate,” Planas said on Cadena Ser radio, adding that he thinks it denigrated the work of Spain’s farmers.
Soon afterwards, Garzon hit back on state broadcaster TVE, saying that eating less meat is healthier for people and better for the environment. He had suffered health problems from eating too much meat, he added.
“I am worried about the health of our fellow citizens and I am worried about the health of our planet,” Garzon said. “Without the planet, we have no life. Without the planet, we have no salaries, no economy, and we are destroying it.”
“We have a direct impact in one of the parts that we are destroying. We can change our diet and improve the state of the planet,” Garzon added.
The clash highlights an ongoing debate in society about the role of animal farming in planet-warming carbon emissions.
Planas belongs to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party, which is strong in some rural areas and is supported by traditional working-class voters.
Garzon’s more radical Unidas Podemos depends on younger and urban progressive voters.
Animal rights and environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, have cheered Garzon’s campaign but urged the government to take more concrete action, particularly against carbon-intensive industrial animal farming.
The Animal Reader is an animal news organisation and posts daily articles about animals. We need your help to continue reporting on animal welfare and animal rights. If you can, please consider supporting our work.