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Catalan minister says Spanish president's response to meat consumption controversy not 'appropriate'

Jordà critical of Pedro Sánchez's comments about a good steak being "unbeatable" when asked about eating less meat 

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13 July 2021 02:24 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Catalonia's minister for climate action, Teresa Jordà, has weighed in on the ongoing controversy around meat consumption, saying that the Spanish president Pedro Sánchez's response has not been "appropriate".

Sánchez said last week that a good medium steak was "unbeatable", after Spain's minister for consumer affairs, Alberto Garzón, launched a campaign asking people to consider eating less meat, for the good of their health and the environment.

Speaking to Catalan public broadcaster TV3 on Monday, Jordà said that while the problem of greenhouse gas emissions is not "exclusive" to livestock, she believes that there are too many intensive farms in Catalonia.

Jordà wants to encourage smaller farms, saying that a new livestock management decree that will be approved "soon" will make it possible to limit the number of animals on farms.

Controversy

Last week, Garzón posted a six-minute video on Twitter with the hashtag "#LessMeatMoreLife", which said that 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions come mainly from industrial farming, and that 1 kilogram of beef requires 15,000 liters of water.

His post generated an avalanche of criticism from agricultural and livestock organizations across Spain, including in Catalonia, with farming group JARC calling on Garzón to publicly rectify his comments and stop spreading "information without scientific basis", while the Lleida branch of ASAJA called for an end to his "erroneous and unjustified attack."

The Spanish president also seemed to undermine his minister by remarking on how he always enjoys a "good medium steak."

Jordà said that Sánchez's answer was not "appropriate" and said that foods should be eaten in balanced moderation, remarking that perhaps too much red meat was eaten in the past.

Similarly, Jéssica Albiach of En Comú Podem, said that the Spanish president's comments were what you would expect to hear from someone "sitting at the bar," and accused Sánchez of not being "aware that we are in the 21st century facing a serious ecological crisis."

Meat industry and exports

Meat production is the fourth largest industrial sector and main agri-food sector in Catalonia, amounting to 21.6% of industrial GDP and 4% of GDP.

It employs about 34,000 people and produces more than 2.5 million tons of meat a year, 80% of which is pork. In 2020, meat production in Catalonia grew by 5% and makes up 32% of the entire Spanish food sector.

Exports in 2020 grew by 13.9% on the previous year, to reach €4.59bn. Pork makes up 66.18% of the value of exports in the sector and 26.58% of the total value of exports. Pork exports grew by 15.19%, in particular due to growth in exports to China, which has become the leading market, surpassing France and Japan.

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  • A butcher's counter at the Lleó market in Girona, December 24, 2020 (by Xavier Pi)

  • A butcher's counter at the Lleó market in Girona, December 24, 2020 (by Xavier Pi)

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