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Italy’s new Minister of Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, has raised concern among the meat sector, as he called for a reduction in the country’s animal protein consumption in his first speech in the position.
“By changing our diet, we will have a co-benefit: improving public health, decreasing water use and producing less CO2,” he said, according to local media outlets, outlining that animal protein requires six times more water than vegetable protein, and that livestock production accounts for 20% of global CO2 emissions.
Cingolani described move towards sustainability as a matter of “finding the right compromise between different needs”, suggesting that the meat sector might be a sacrifice he will make for a sustainable food system.
Industry association Carni Sostenibili (translating to “Sustainable Meat”) allegedly responded by saying that global figures suggest that the ecological footprint of Italian meat consumption has been inaccurately portrayed. President of Carni Sostenibili, Giuseppe Pulina, noted that emissions produced by Italian animal husbandry is below the global average, with Italy at 5.2% and the global average at 14.5%. Italian producers also use 25% less water than the global average.
Furthermore, other reactions cited the meat association’s contribution to employment, with the livestock sector providing 250,000 jobs and a turnover of €40 billion.