The significance of the ribeye scandal in Spain

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The significance of the ribeye scandal in Spain

Recommending reduction of red meat consumption and declaring that you actually enjoy eating red meat has created a whirlwind of nonsense in Spain.

Pedro Sánchez, president of the Spanish government, said last week in Lithuania his now famous sentence: “Wherever they put a ribeye cooked right, that’s unbeatable,” criticizing the recommendation of one of his ministers of reducing red meat consumption, while at the same supporting meat producers.

A sentence that could be either scathing or simply of personal preference has created a whirlwind for both – people in favor of reducing consumption or even eliminating animal agriculture, and people in favor of continuing to produce meat. That’s not to mention politicians, from left, right, up, or down. It is shameful that it has been used as a political weapon just before the whole administration has been changed. All have leveraged from it and just added more fuel to the fire.

Although no one talked about prohibiting meat production and/or consumption, or to keep on carelessly producing it, there seems to be no consensus and planning. Likewise, the problem that I find here is the fact that when people discuss animal agriculture, it includes all, even broilers and eggs! And in their minds, the bad guys are all producers of animals, whether they are hens or cattle.

From the sustainability point of view, we all know the differences between producing a kilo of red meat and a kilo of chicken or eggs. Should we start separating poultry from the general “livestock production” term? Should we also be more sensitive to the contributions of livestock producers to a country? Shouldn’t a balance between environment, health, economy, society, and future be reached?

From the health side, some say Spain has somehow deviated from the original Mediterranean diet, consuming less vegetables, legumes, fish, and other foods, while increasing meat consumption. This together with a concern with the planet originated the recommendation. Still, at the same time, Spain has one of the best life expectancies in the world. 

In addition to the nonsense political arguments, all this brings to my mind the disparity of focus in the world. While some countries are pushing to decrease meat/animal protein consumption, other countries are pushing to increase it. Let us keep in mind that “there are worse risks than a fatty steak or a couple of fried eggs from a hen in a cage: the danger of death for not having nothing to eat, whether from a cow or a hen,” said a Spanish columnist.

What do you think?