Nutrition: War and climate crisis: call for less meat consumption

In view of high food prices due to the Ukraine war and the escalating climate crisis, researchers and aid organizations are calling for people to eat significantly less meat and dairy products.

Nutrition: War and climate crisis: call for less meat consumption

In view of high food prices due to the Ukraine war and the escalating climate crisis, researchers and aid organizations are calling for people to eat significantly less meat and dairy products. This is the only way to prevent agriculture from destroying more and more ecosystems and thus increasing climate risks such as extreme weather and crop failures, experts from Misereor, the United Nations and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, among others, warned on Thursday.

Fundamental changes in the food systems are necessary, said the director of the UN World Food Program for Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, Martin Frick. "The number of people suffering from acute hunger has almost tripled in the last three years and stands at 345 million." Poor and crisis-ridden countries must be helped to develop small-scale, sustainable and independent agriculture.

Large proportion of grain fed to animals

In many parts of the world, crop failures are to be expected due to drought, many forest fires and other climate damage, experts warned. Nevertheless, more than half of the grain harvested in Germany is fed to animals. Plants for biofuels grow on a good 6.5 percent of the arable land. "The production of these areas must now be used as food for people," they demanded.

The vice president of the German Society for Nutritional Medicine, Anja Bosy-Westphal, said a lower consumption of animal and highly processed foods is also healthier. "A sustainable, more plant-based diet must become the most attractive, cheapest and easiest alternative."

The agricultural expert and chairman of the Misereor Advisory Board, Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, said that the high grain prices could be reduced in the short term if pig fattening in Europe and thus the high demand for animal feed were curbed quickly and effectively for a limited period - with compensation for the affected companies.

They called on politicians to quickly levy "incentive taxes" - but in connection with relief packages "so that food prices reflect the true costs, but poorer households are not additionally burdened".

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