EU Climate Commissioner-designate denies ecological need for reduction in livestock
The European group of the Party for the Animals (PftA) has asked additional questions to EU Climate Commissioner-designate Frans Timmermans. At this stage, the party does not intend to support his candidacy. During the hearing before the European Parliament last week, Timmermans denied the need for a reduction in livestock in order to successfully fight climate change.
PftA MEP Anja Hazekamp has requested Timmermans to do something about the billions in subsidies paid by Brussels to the livestock industry every year. However, Timmermans believes that the EU is on the right course with its current agricultural policy. When asked, he even made it clear that, if elected Climate Commissioner, he was not planning on cutting the millions of EU funds currently going to meat commercials such as What a wonderful beef.
“Unbelievable,” says MEP Anja Hazekamp. “Globally, the livestock industry is emitting more greenhouse gases than all cars, boats, trains and airplanes combined. If Europe seriously wants to combat the climate crisis, a reduction in the number of livestock animals and our meat consumption is absolutely essential. Although Timmermans has made some encouraging points regarding legislation on agricultural toxins and taxing the polluting air and maritime transport, when it comes to agriculture, he is clearly a political dinosaur.”
The world’s largest research into the impact of our food system on the planet, executed by researchers of the University of Oxford in 2018, already showed that the transition to a more plant-based agriculture is the single most effective way of tackling climate and environmental issues. Something similar was suggested by scientists of the United Nations.
Furthermore, Timmermans implied that he believed Europe to have ‘sustainably’ negotiated trade agreements like the Mercosur deal. “Utter nonsense,” warns Hazekamp. “In reply to questions of the Party for the Animals, the Dutch Minister for External Trade has admitted that the Mercosur deal does not contain any guarantees on sustainability or binding commitments on, for example, the protection of the Amazon rainforests. Timmermans selling treaties such as these as being ‘sustainable’ is very serious indeed.”
In September, Anja Hazekamp and Francisco Guerreiro, MEP for Portuguese party for animals PAN, already led a protest in Porto, Portugal, against the disastrous Mercosur deal.
Although during the hearing Timmermans repeatedly stated a desire to fight for pro-climate European plans, their execution clearly still requires attention. Following Timmermans’ replies, the Party for the Animals is not very keen on his possible appointment as Climate Commissioner.