Germany’s Meat Industry in a Panic

It’s been a very bad week for Germany’s meat industry. German animal advocate Mahi Klosterhalfen wrote an article all about it, which is translated below by Jana Baumann. (Mahi’s original piece is here.)

This past week, three popular print publications reported extensively and positively about vegetarianism. This, together with the dioxin scandal, put the meat industry on alert: It now wants to invest millions in advertising.

This week’s Der Stern  cover story is about vegetarianism: “Being Happy – Meatless; Why it’s Trendy to Live Without Meat.” The magazine discusses this topic rather competently over a detailed 12-page report.

One of the article’s many strong paragraphs reads:

We all already know how it comes to cheap meat: pigs who bite off each other’s tail in the narrowness of their cages; chicken which are fed antibiotics on 20 out of their 32 days of life; insufficient drugged slaughter cattle which are still conscience of their scalding and cutting up. We don’t need a new “rotten meat – Gammelfleisch” scandal. Our meat is already a scandal.

Despite doing a mostly solid job with the subject, Der Stern makes a number of misinformed points when discussing veganism.

Similar weaknesses in the coverage of veganism showed up this week in the weekly newspaper Der Spiegel. However, this shortcoming is more than made up for by the fact that the newspaper published an eight-page article titled, “a world without sausage.”

One of its many strong paragraphs reads:

What the German Animal Protection Act allows to happen to two and four legged animals: shortly after birth piglets are docked and their canine teeth are ground – without anesthesia. Cattle, sheep and goats, also without anesthesia, have their testicles ripped out so that their meat tastes better. A person who barbecues a piece of pork or who bites into a crispy chicken leg is certainly a beneficiary of these atrocities. More and more people don’t want to take this blame and therefore abdicate the consumption of meat and fish.

Even the Bild is having second thoughts about meat: their Jan. 20 issue answers the question, “Do I really live healthier as vegetarian?”

Together with the dioxin scandal, this triple blow from major German publications has triggered a panic in the country’s meat industry. Germany’s meat companies are now working out a plan to provide a seven-to eight-digit budget for saving the reputation of the schnitzel. One of the options under consideration is a levy of 20 cents per slaughtered pig to finance a million-dollar media campaign.

Our free tip for the meat industry: invest in the development of plant-based alternatives to meat. This is a market which will grow massively in the coming years and decades and which will offset future revenue losses of a shrinking meat industry.