Italy: Debates arise after new environment minister’s remarks to reduce meat consumption

18 March 2021

In one of his first public speeches, the Italian newly appointed environment minister, Roberto Cingolani, claimed that “the amount of animal protein consumed should be decreased and replaced with plant-based alternatives” to support the ecological transition. He also pointed out that animal protein requires six times as much water to produce as the same amount of vegetable protein, while intensive livestock production accounts for 20% of global CO2 emissions.

Soon after that, Cingolani’s remarks have met with harsh criticism from the meat sector, arguing that his words are “abnormal overestimation of climate-changing gas emissions from intensive meat production.” They highlighted that Italy ranks among the countries with lowest meat consumption in Europe, and the Italy meat sectors also consume less water than its European peers.

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