The German Farmers' Association has reacted with criticism to the request by Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) that citizens should eat less meat.

The President of the German Farmers' Association (DBV), Joachim Rukwied, told the FAZ on Friday: "This discussion distracts from the actual problem that the restructuring of animal husbandry announced by the coalition as a flagship project is being politically blocked."

Anna Lena Ripperger

Editor in Politics.

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The livestock farmers, especially the pig farmers, are up to their necks in water.

The further development of animal husbandry must therefore finally be advanced.

"Instead of cultivation or consumption recommendations, we need practical building law, mandatory husbandry and origin labeling and, above all, reliable financing," says Rukwied.

In the fight against climate change, Özdemir had previously called for people to rethink their own meat consumption.

"There is no climate protection, no biodiversity without noticing it," said the Green politician on RTL / ntv.

Climate change is man-made, so people can also ensure that things don't just go on like this, says Özdemir: "For example, by eating less meat."

Animal husbandry will also be necessary in Germany in the future, for example to produce animal fertilizer as a substitute for mineral fertilizer.

At the same time, pushing back factory farming is a contribution to climate protection.

"We need fewer animals, we need them better distributed over the area, not concentrated in certain regions," said the Federal Minister of Agriculture.

He also called for less grain to be used as animal feed;

this is currently the case for 60 percent of grain.

DBV President Rukwied emphasized that climate protection has "top priority" for farmers, since climate change is particularly affecting agriculture.

Animal husbandry is therefore constantly being developed with a view to animal welfare and climate protection.

With regard to Özdemir's demand to use less grain as animal feed, he referred to the different site requirements of different types of grain.

Baking wheat only thrives in better locations, "Winter barley, on the other hand, is mostly used for animal feed, also grows on less good soil and is less demanding in cultivation," said Rukwied.

Farmers' cultivation decisions depend on this, as well as on regional climate and vegetation conditions and, last but not least, on consumer demand.

Criticism of Özdemir's statements also came from the deputy president of the Bavarian Farmers' Association, Günther Felssner.

He told the FAZ that "animal husbandry and crop production" should not be played off against each other, "especially not by a Federal Minister of Agriculture".

Sustainable agriculture works in cycles.

In the production of one kilogram of plant-based food, four kilograms of non-edible biomass accrued, which would only be made available to humans by livestock.

"Consumers don't have to do without meat from regional, sustainable production," says Felssner.

According to the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, meat consumption in Germany has increased in recent years

decreased slightly, from around 61 kilograms per person in 2018 to around 55 kilograms in 2021.