Just one of the many traditional Portuguese delicacies CAP believes pilgrims should be encouraged to try, instead of suddenly becoming vegetarian to compensate for their plane journey

Farmers angry over World Youth Day messaging about giving up meat

Pilgrims encouraged to give up meat for a year to offset carbon emissions 

With news about World Youth Day starting in Lisbon next week filling the media, one of the spin offs is the fact that Portugal’s farmers are fuming about a “recommendation to abstain from meat consumption for a year to offset carbon emissions”.

The message is contained in the ‘Pilgrims Handbook’ produced for the estimated one million-plus visitors to the event, who have already started arriving in droves.

CAP, the Confederation of Portuguese Farmers has issued a statement, saying it was “with great surprise” that it learned of the recommendation “developed by entities totally unrelated to the food chain” (…) which may induce young people to adopt an “extreme and radical eating behaviour, with consequences that can be serious for their health and physical and cognitive development“.

According to reports, the message in the handbook uses the carbon emissions the young people will have created in coming to Portugal as a reason for eschewing meat for a period of 12 months.

As CAP points out, there seems little “care or context” in this message, which the confederation dubs “absurd and radical”, “extremely irresponsible” and “an incomprehensible subordination to an animalistic agenda”.

CAP also suggests the concept of a reduction in carbon emissions is being confused with sustainability, “to which, it noted, agriculture and livestock “make a fundamental contribution”, through, for example, animal production models, such as extensive grazing, writes Lusa.

The confederation is hoping the recommendation can be removed from the handbook, on the basis that pilgrims should be encouraged to try “the rich and healthy Portuguese gastronomy”, which of course includes dishes made with meat. “This is also called sustainability”, CAP points out.

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