“We are going to meat country, meat country.” Funny fellows used the name of the new pro-meat campaign in all known song genres and now Paul Simons’ denigration is the Graceland It was in my head for a week. Yesterday I also sang: “Vleesland, fleshland, my longing for fleshland” to the tunes Dream land. I have stopped eating meat for a while now.
How much meat do the Dutch actually eat? It turns out that it averages about 76 kilograms per person per year. This puts us 37th in the world ranking. We eat much more meat, for example, from Morocco (35 kg) or Japan (50 kg), but we eat less meat than Portugal (94 kg) or the United States (124 kg). These figures cannot be compared directly, because this relates to the so-called carcass weight and different countries may eat different proportions of the animals slaughtered.
In the Netherlands, consumers eat about half of the slaughtered animal, about 38 kilograms per person per year, or about 100 grams per day.
The Nutrition Center advises not to eat more than 70 grams of meat per day. The average Dutch person is a little higher than that. And I think it’s worse than it sounds, because not everyone in the Netherlands is equally passionate about meat country, meat country.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, about 5 percent of the population does not eat meat. About 45 percent of workers are flexible and eat no meat more than four days a week. About 30 percent eat meat five or six days a week and 20 percent every day. An average of 38 kilos per year for all of these people, but the majority of them don’t eat meat every day. How much meat do the Dutch eat on average on the day they eat meat?
For ease of calculations, I’m assuming that people always eat the same amount of meat on “meat day,” and I take the upper limit of four days a week for all flexibility workers and the minimum of five days for the 20 percent who ate meat. Five or six days a week. This adds up to approximately 150 grams of meat per day on days when people eat meat. This is more than double the advice for a healthy diet.
And then now begins a campaign to promote meat. While it is clear that it would be better in every way to eat less meat: for your health, for the climate and especially for the animals.
Our government has eliminated recommendations to eat less meat from sustainability campaigns, because this topic has turned out to be very sensitive. Once I sat in a restaurant next to a member of the VVD who gasped that he thought campaigns to reduce meat intake were ridiculous: if he saw such a call, he immediately went to get a kilogram of sausage. I hope the Vleesland campaign will have a similar unintended effect and that people will eat less meat because of the sheer rebellion.
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