We should eat less meat to help the environment, advisory body says

Soya is widely used as a meat replacement. Photo: Despositphotos.com

The Dutch should reduce their consumption of meat sharply to contribute towards a better environment and cut greenhouse gases, according to a government advisory body.

The Council for the Environment and Infrastructure says the Netherlands needs to move more quickly towards a healthier and more sustainable food system and that involves boosting the amount of vegetable protein people eat.

In the 1960s, the ratio of meat to vegetable protein was around 50:50 but that has now shifted to 70:30, the council says. But by 2030, people should be eating 60% vegetable protein and 40% meat, it recommends.

The report also says the agriculture ministry should develop a long-term view of the industry and reduce the number of cows and pigs for consumption. Factory farms, the report states, are responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.

In order to cut meat consumption, the official government recommendations for a healthy diet should be amended to cut the amount of meat. ‘Television cooks, cooking sections in magazines, are good ways to make the consumer more aware, by presenting new ways of eating,’ spokesman Krijn Poppe told NOS radio.

The government should also consider adding value added tax to meat and meat products, the council said. The Dutch currently eat just under 39 kilos of meat a year, compared with just 17 kilos in 1950, the council said.

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