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We are long past the time where we can continue to deny the adverse effects that animal agriculture has on our planet. In the past 40 years, our love affair with meat and dairy has wreaked havoc on the planet. We have lost 58 percent of all wildlife from the face of the earth while countless other species are being pushed to the brink of extinction. There is currently more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than there has been in the past 800,000 years, a number that is driven primarily by animal agriculture, which accounts for 14.5 percent (or more, according to some sources) of all greenhouse gases — more than the entire transportation sector put together. Our air and waterways are also riddled with pollution due to run-off from factory farm waste, exposing us to harmful antibiotics and other toxins.

On top of all that, there are countless other problems caused by animal agriculture. It can be enough to make your head spin. Luckily, change is easy — and it begins on our plates. One German politician realized that and has decided to create change for the better. Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s current Federal Minister for the Environment and member of the Social Democrats (SPD), has just banned meat at all Environmental ministry functions. According to The Daily Telegraph, the ban came to light in an email from Hendricks to all German government department heads, stating “we want to set a good example for climate protection, because vegetarian food is more climate-friendly than meat and fish.”

This, of course, has not gone over well with other German officials. German Food Minister Christian Schmidt weighed in on the issue, stating: “I’m not having this Veggie Day through the back door. I believe in diversity and freedom of choice, not nanny-statism and ideology.” This is the same minister who has called for a ban on terms such as “vegetarian schnitzel,” “vegetarian sausage,” and “vegetarian meatballs” on the grounds that “These terms are completely misleading and unsettle consumers. I favor them being banned in the interest of clear consumer labeling.” Just like we are perplexed by the U.S. dairy industry’s uproar over the label “almond milk” or Unilever’s attempted lawsuit over vegan mayonnaise calling itself “mayonnaise,” we have to wonder if Schmidt is truly interested in protecting the fragile consumer mind or if he is simply attempting to fight the growing plant-based food industry.

While Hendricks’ ban on meat only extends to official functions for her ministry, and not what government officials will be served daily at the staff canteen, she has made a bold statement for the environment — one that we hope will inspire other government officials to do the same.

Lead image source: Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

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17 comments on “Germany Bans Meat at Official Functions! The Reason They Did it Is Even Better”

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1 Years Ago

Dear Kat,
unfortunately the information in your article is not completely correct. The ban only refers to the caterings at official events at the BMUB (German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety). So this would be for example press conferences, specialist conferences and the like. It does not include other ministries and other official functions. Furthermore, meat is also not categorically banned at the BMUB. There will also be exceptions for example at special events like the celebration of the National Nature Conservation project in the Wahner Heath near Cologne, they will serve bush meat (as it fits the occasion they say).
It would indeed be nice, if governments (not only the German one) acted more as role models for responsible and environmental friendly behavior but obviously we are not ready for that yet. Maybe you could correct your title to prevent wrong information from being spread.
No offense to your article by the way. Various media in Germany are reporting about this in a false and incomplete way. So it is quite logical that not the whole story reaches the international audience.

Beverley Estes
1 Years Ago

What was the reason they banned Meat???

23 Feb 2017

It has been shown that factory farming is very bad for the environment....All the methane gas given off by the animals is more detrimental than all the fumes given off by cars. Personally I\'m just against animals as food, clothing or entertainment of any kind given the research I have done. I have come to the conclusion that no matter what laws are put into place to ensure animal welfare human beings are evil and that evil will be taken out on those that cannot defend themselves.It is because of this that I can never support animal use in any way.

Nell Tuero
1 Years Ago

now the ball has started to roll, hopefully it will go further and faster spreading the word.

Karen Ingram
1 Years Ago

yay its starting to change slowly but surely

1 Years Ago

The headline may be misleading, but this does not qualify as fake news.

This is a great move even for a small portion of any government events! I hope to see more !

Eric Schneider
1 Years Ago

Fake News. The Environmental Ministry bans it from ITS official events. Which is about 1% of all german government events. ANd it is not GERMANY benning anything.

22 Feb 2017

It\'s one more brick being pulled out of the wall of suffering. Add that to the three US hospitals that are now featuring and promoting meatless meals for patients, the Oakland school district which has pulled two or three meat meals and replaced them with vegetarian, and Sainsbury\'s grocery stores in the UK who are going to be actively promoting vegan food items by placing them beside their meat counterpart and giving reward points for buying them......we\'re on the cusp of an awakening. Whether you like it or not.

23 Feb 2017

Eric, why don\'t you read the article as well, and not only the title? Then you will know what the news actually is.
A good piece of advice: should you ever happen to buy a book in your life - just by chance you know - remember this suggestion: read the entire book, not only the title on the cover. It works in this way.

Andy T
23 Feb 2017

Renata, I agree with Eric that the headline is very misleading. It makes a completely false statement, even if the article is correct.

In a well-written article, the headline should be consistent with the content of the article.
Especially as, unfortunately, many people only do read the headline.

I would not call it "Fake news" myself, but it is bad journalism.

1 Years Ago

Excellent---my dream is for all slaughter houses worldwide to be shut down. Meat is no treat for those you eat. Humans need to stop this practice totally. Good going, Germany!

John L Clapp
22 Feb 2017

Well Hitler was a vegetarian, I guess we must have jumped the gun on going after him, huh. I mean he was a all around nice guy right. Only killed 6 million Jews. Then cremated them. so we could go and cremate Obama and that way we can be sure that it happens for him, the fact that he is alive does not make a difference.

Nancy Brady, RN
22 Feb 2017

I couldn\'t agree more, Christine!!! No living sentient being should have to endure such horrific fear, pain, and torture. GREAT GOING GERMANY!!!!

23 Feb 2017

I can\'t reply to John L Clapp directly, but this is the answer: Hitler was vegetarian for a short period of his life due to stomach problems: with his pretty job at hand I am not surprised he had stomach problems. It was proved that he was violent towards his "beloved" dogs, often kicking them badly. Vegetarian and even more vegan diets are very healthy and people may choose them for this reason: nothing to do with compassion or environmental considerations.

Rob Stuart
17 Mar 2017

@ John L Clapp

Hitler was certainly not a vegetarian prior to the second world war its pretty easy to find corroborating accounts that show his favorite meals were squab(pigeon), Bavarian sausages, liver dumplings, caviar and succulent trout in butter sauce. Even after self proclaiming vegetarianism in 1942 he enjoyed a slice of ham.

So believe the word of an evil man like Hitler? He probably liked to think of himself as a vegetarian to foster his own delusional idea that he was righteous. He probably knew, as would his propaganda minister Goebbels, that proclaiming this compassionate lifestyle choice would promote trust. He probably wasn\'t a vegetarian. But even if he was a vegetarian it was certainly not because he was a compassionate man and conversely, just because someone is vegetarian doesn\'t mean they are evil, genocidal maniacs. So whats your point?

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