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EU meat consumption 'should drop by 71%' to help fight climate change

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A group of pigs enjoy the afternoon sun in their pen at the Dodge Farm in Berlin
A group of pigs enjoy the afternoon sun in their pen at the Dodge Farm in Berlin   -   Copyright  Toby Talbot/AP
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Greenpeace is calling on Europeans to drastically cut their meat and dairy consumption in the coming years in order to help fight climate breakdown.

With EU leaders discussing agricultural policy ahead of the bloc's "Farm to Fork" strategy, set to be published later this month, the environmental campaign group wants meat consumption in the EU to drop by 71% by 2030, and 81% by 2050.

The organisation claims the calculation of a reduction of consumption to 24kg per person per year by 2030, and then further to 16kg per person per year by 2050, is based on levels that scientists say would ensure food security, while keeping global heating below 1.5°C.

"Globally to control the current ecological crisis we are facing, we would need to cut by half until 2050," Sini Eräjää, Agriculture and forest campaigner from the Greenpeace European Unit told Euronews.

"But in Europe, because we consume more globally, we would need to cut more."

Greenpeace wants people to eat no more than 300 grams of meat a week by 2050.

“The science is overwhelming at this stage – overconsumption of meat and dairy is wrecking forests, crushing nature and heating the planet," said Eräjää.

"The Commission wants to talk about ensuring healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable way? Great idea, but that means it’s time to talk about reducing meat.”

When challenged on whether that would mean the collapse of the agricultural industry and all the jobs and livelihoods attached to it, Eräjää claimed: "We will need more than ever healthy food production".

"Decision-makers are discussing the common agricultural policy. We are calling on them to ensure farmers have the support they need for the massive transitions that we need to make. We have a lot of money going into the agricultural sector and that needs to be used to support the transition that we need."

Currently, Spain has the highest per capita meat consumption in the EU at over 100kg per person per year, with Bulgaria consuming the least at 58kg per person.

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