German environment minister Barbara Hendricks orders only vegetarian food to be served at government events
Germany has decided to remove meat and fish from the menu of its official functions in a bid to lower the carbon footprint of government events.
The decision by Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, first reported last week by The Telegraph, is an attempt by her ministry to combat the “negative effects of meat consumption”, according to an email sent to ministers.
Agriculture is responsible for around 13 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, making it the world’s second-largest emitter after power generation. Most of these emissions – around 65 per cent, according to the World Resources Institute – comes from animal husbandry, in particular cattle farming.
The ban only applies to official government functions, with meat and fish still available to ministry officials in the staff canteen.
However, some German officials have railed against the move. “You have to eat what’s on the table according to the will of the ministry. No meat, no fish, and the cover of ‘climate protection’,” Gitta Conneman, a senior MP in the CDU told Germany’s Bild.
But the environment ministry is standing by its decision. “We’re not telling anyone what they should eat,” the environment ministry said in a statement. “But we want to set a good example for climate protection, because vegetarian food is more climate-friendly than meat and fish.”