When will France be ready for a meat-free day?
With Paul McCartney launching Meat Free Monday, the city of Ghent declaring a Meat Free Thursday, the city of Liverpool thinking about following their example and the UK’s National Health Service also determined to introduce meat free menus I wonder whether France will ever declare a meat free day.
The motivation behind all the meat-free moves above is last years announcement by the UN that the world needs to eat less meat in order to curb global warming, as meat production is responsible for around a fifth of all greenhouse gases. Not only that but the amount of water used to produce a kilogram of grain-fed beef is 100,000 litres (for veggie production soya beans the highest consumers of water needing around 2000 litres for a kg of food, potatoes only need 500 litres). Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein while yielding animal protein that is only 1.4 times more nutritious for humans than the comparable amount of plant protein, according to the Cornell ecologist’s analysis.
In Britain the meat industry is less than happy with these initiatives. One shudders to imagine what the French meat industry would do if threatened with a whole meat-less day a week.
So can we look forward to a meat free day being declared in France?
The French version of the Vegetarian society, l’Association Végétarienne de France, has bigger battles to fight. Currently it is campaining to ensure that school children, people in hospital and people in retirement homes have a right to a vegetarian meal, something many of us would take for granted.