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“Eating meat is part of our culture”

What is the greenwashing trick?

Big Livestock companies use their marketing, websites, and packaging to reinforce the idea that eating meat and dairy is traditional in many cultures and vital for humans. 

But these companies fail to mention that at no time in human history have we produced and consumed meat and dairy in the quantities we do today. JBS, the world’s biggest meat company, slaughters a staggering 13 million animals every single day – and that’s just one meat producer. 

The world currently produces far more meat than humans need to support their nutrition or to honour their traditions, and far more than the planet can safely or sustainably support.

How is this greenwashing trick being used?

The science is very clear that developed nations need to eat less meat, but this reality is often not presented accurately by the media. The resulting confusion is exploited by big meat companies, which argue that meat and dairy are essential to many meals and central to the cuisine of many cultures. 

The reality is that the world’s current level of meat and dairy consumption has only recently become part of the culture in the global north; fifty years ago, meat was still a luxury product, eaten only once a week or on special occasions. The industry also uses this tactic to not only boost the demand for meat and dairy products in established markets, but to create demand in new countries and cultures.

Why is this bad for the climate crisis?

Big livestock companies have normalised high levels of meat consumption, making them seem inherent to many cultures. By using cultural arguments to justify the world’s rising demand for meat and dairy, the sector can justify its continued expansion and push into more and more countries – making their products seem like an inevitable part of any diet. 

Who is using this Greenwashing trick?




“The relationship that French people have with meat remains as strong as ever, with 93% of people agreeing that consuming and cooking meat is part of our culture. French people are not ready to give up meat in their diet: 82% of consumers interviewed said that humans have always been omnivores that have always consumed meat, and that this will always remain the case.”

“Humans are physically omnivorous, so our diet does not exclude anything and our digestive system is adapted to a varied diet. The complete removal of any food of animal origin creates a deficiency in vitamins, iron and calcium. It risks an imbalance in certain amino acids that are essential to all metabolic processes and to mental health.” 


Meat and dairy companies purposely portray meat-eating as a binary issue: people either eat a lot of meat, or none at all. But by focusing on this false dichotomy, the question of how much is produced and consumed disappears from the discussion. 

Big meat companies have used this tactic to create a narrative that eating meat and dairy supports farmers, while refusing to eat animal products undermines their livelihoods. 

In reality, governments and individual consumers can support both farmers and a transition to a world that eats less and better meat and dairy. Arguably, the only way to support farmers in the long term is to reduce our consumption of these animal products, transforming the food system and improving conditions for every link in the supply chain – including farmers – in the process.