Germany Bans Meat at Official Functions

Germany may be the land of schnitzel, sausage and roast boar, but the government will no longer be serving meat at official functions.

Environment Minister Barbara Henricks announced the new policy, noting that the government recognizes the tremendous environmental impact of meat consumption. Meanwhile, Christian Schmidt, Food Minister, accused her of “nanny statism.”

There are a few caveats: The policy is vegetarian, not vegan. Therefore, the government will continue to serve eggs and dairy at state events. And the rule applies only to formal events, not staff cafeterias — though staff may now have more ammunition for pushing a vegetarian-only menu internally.

We already know that the animal-based agriculture industry is terrible for the environment. A recent study also named the meat industry as a leading culprit in the decline of global biodiversity. Raising animals for food purposes is incredibly inefficient and destructive.

In a novel approach, Germany is leading by example. When governments hold official events, they’re effectively sanctioning whatever food they serve. Menus are often crafted with elaborate care, and this is especially true of state dinners and other foreign relations events.

By declining to serve meat, the government showcases the merits of vegetarianism and embraces the diversity of German vegetarian cuisine.

Even so, the German government is not telling other people what to eat, despite the howls of outcry from the pro-meat camp. Critics of the policy seem to think it is a sneaky backdoor into forcing the entire nation of Germany to go vegetarian.

The government isn’t barring animal agriculture, banning the sale of animal products, snooping in restaurants or looking over the shoulders of home cooks — it’s just making a choice for itself.

The decision could, of course, lead to dietary changes across Germany. Shy vegetarians and vegans or people interested in exploring an animal product-free diet could be emboldened by the policy decision, especially as it becomes a topic of dinner table conversation. It could also be an advertising point for vegetarian establishments and chefs. It may even prove to be a good foreign relations move — no more worrying about vegetarians or people with other meat-based dietary restrictions at the table.

But the policy is also being complicated by an internal power struggle. Some say that Henricks and her fellow Social Democrats are trying to boss people around, with the opposing Christian Democrats standing strong against dietary tyranny. Germany has some important upcoming elections that are being colored by the debate, which has become a flashpoint in political discussion.

However, the strong reactions shouldn’t come as a surprise. Schmidt already tried to take a swipe at labeling on vegetarian and vegan fake meat products, including vegan sausage, claiming that they’re “misleading.”

Germany’s food fight should be an example for other governments — in this case, the country has explicitly acknowledged that cutting back on meat will help address anthropogenic climate change. Other governments that want to push for environmental reforms might also want to consider going vegetarian as a model for citizens.

After all, it’s hard to take the government seriously when it tells you meat is destructive if knockwurst remains on the state dinner menu.

Photo credit: Spicy Bear

131 comments

Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Christine V
Christine V7 months ago

Awesome!

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla7 months ago

Wow, how great!!!!

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Kyle N
Kyle N7 months ago

So, now at the official funcions in Germany is BYO food if you want to eat.

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Aileen P
Aileen P8 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Amanda G
Amanda G8 months ago

Thanks for posting

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Carl R
Carl R8 months ago

thanks!!!

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Beth M
Beth M8 months ago

ty

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Beth M
Beth M8 months ago

ty

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