Debate and conflicts over the entrecote of discord in the country of gastronomy

This Thursday, a dispatch from Agence France Presse (AFP) reports on a report co-produced by the medical journal The Lancet and the NGO EAT. This report, we are told, "mobilized for three years 37 experts from 16 countries, establishes a planetary health regime. Its purpose is to ensure a balance between human health needs and environmental impacts. Especially when the planet will be populated by 10 billion humans around 2050. We are told that at that time, "to protect its health and the environment", according to these experts, it should "consume every day on average 30 grams of vegetables, 200 grams of fruit, 200 grams of whole seeds (rice, wheat, corn …), 250 grams of whole milk or equivalent, but only 14 grams of red meat, ten times less than a steak of conventional size ".

The rapporteurs also tell us that, "in the absence of red meat, proteins could come from the consumption of poultry (29 grams), fish (28 grams) of eggs (13 grams) or even nuts of all kinds (50 grams ). " Increasing nut consumption is a good idea because the trees that carry them also store carbon. However, it is hard to see how to make red meat disappear from our menus when the authors of the report suggest we consume the equivalent of 250 grams of milk every day. Because the cow remains by far the most productive animal in this area. It must, moreover, give birth to a calf every year to maintain the cycle of milk production several years in succession before finishing itself on the butcher's stall.

The call of the 500 arouses the wrath of the peasants

So doing our eating behavior contributes now, and even more in the coming decades, the braking of global warming is more complicated than some expected. In France, on 7 January, with the help of researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA), 500 personalities including many artists launched the idea of ​​a Monday without meat and without fish. These personalities pledged to consume only vegetables this first round of each week in 2019. Among the signatories of the call, there were personalities like Isabelle Adjani, Juliette Binoche, Cécile de France, Stephane Bern, Frédéric Lopez and the photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and activists from several NGOs including Greenpeace.

On behalf of Greenpeace France, Clara Jamart explained that "our overconsumption of meat products is fairly recent" adding that we have gone from a third of animal protein to two-thirds in our daily ration. The capitalist globalization of agriculture has continued to be part of a commercial strategy based on supply policy, Clara Jamart, failing to analyze this phenomenon and the risk of blaming consumers while starting to Breeders reported that "85% of deforested land in South America was dedicated to livestock. If you want to stay below 2 ° C of warming, it is to reduce the consumption of animal protein by 2050 globally. But in Europe we are big consumers, we will have to eat five times less meat than today, "explained the activist Greenpeace.

Farmers whose work has been underpaid for years

Yes, but now, this call has fallen while the prices of beef animals have been too low for too long to provide a payment that allows farmers to live from their work. Therefore, any decline in consumption is often accompanied by a further fall in prices from the farm, whether beef, sheep, pork or poultry without forgetting milk and eggs. And as production costs are rising because of the consequences of the drought that raged from the summer of 2018, the appeal of the 500 personalities not to consume the least piece of meat 52 days in the year is lived as a militant act aimed at increasing the difficulties of breeders.

Although known for its sensitivity to ecological issues, the peasant Confederation declared that this call "is a further proof of the unbearable stigmatization experienced by the breeders who produce daily to live their work. This call never points out the responsibility of manufacturers and distributors who, in their race for low prices, prevent the spread of the most virtuous breeding practices. This call never highlights the benefits of peasant farming for the environment, the respect of animals, the dynamism of territories. This call never suggests that many agricultural lands (summer pastures, pastures, permanent meadows) can only be valorized by extensive livestock farming.

Free trade agreements and carbon footprint of meat

A few days later, it was the turn of the Rural Coordination to have 500 farmers sign a text in which promoters could read meatless Mondays: "Do not fool yourself! In order to fight against deforestation, against greenhouse gas emissions, against the transport of animals, synonymous with animal suffering, for your health, fight rather with us to denounce the multiplication of the treaties of agreements of free trade that generates an increase in meat imports; this meat that travels and therefore produces CO2, which does not correspond to our production standards and which has traces, sometimes high, molecules prohibited in France.

On behalf of the FNSEA, Christiane Lambert was astonished at the publication of the text of the 500 to "see artists, men and women famous, give lessons between three round trip between Paris and New York." It is true that the carbon footprint of these frequent travelers is much higher than that of the cow grazing the grass of the meadow to produce a camembert milk, cantal or county.

It is also true that the question of reducing the carbon footprint of our plate is crucial in the 21st century. But because of the negative externalisations it multiplies, the liberal globalization of agriculture does not allow for a calm and peaceful discussion of this issue.

It is true that violent actions such as the firing of a slaughterhouse last weekend in Jossigny in Seine et Marne are not acceptable. Yesterday, we learned that three men and three women aged 19 to 50 years had been arrested, placed in custody, and then indicted following this action by the gendarmes of the Melun search brigade. These six "anti-species" activists have reportedly acknowledged the facts while they are also suspected of destroying hunting facilities last fall in the department.

As much as everyone should be free to eat according to their choices, as much as wanting to impose their own conduct on all consumers by stigmatizing breeders, slaughterhouse employees and meat traders is an inadmissible behavior in this country.