Copenhagen Schools Urged to Ban Red Meat From Lunches

Danish politicians are urging for a red meat ban in Copenhagen’s schools, kindergartens, and daycare centers.

Launched in 2013, Denmark’s Alternative Party consistently campaigns for a more sustainable future for the country. It wants to see red meat consumption reduced to limit the city’s environmental impact.

“Red meat has a huge impact on the climate,” said Alternative Party councilor Franciska Rosenkilde to Danish newspaper Politiken“You can choose freely what to eat at home but as a municipality, we have a responsibility to be ambitious in our environmental behavior. That’s why I’m proposing we remove red meat from meals in municipal institutions.”

The Alternative Party wants to remove beef and lamb in particular from menus. It presented its proposal — which would only impact institutions that serve one to two meals a day — to the city council last week.

Red meat production is responsible for a number of environmental problems.

Red Meat and the Planet

Beef production has a high impact on the planet. Every kilogram produced emits the equivalent of 36 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is also responsible for large amounts of deforestation. Many of the fires in the Amazon rainforest were started intentionally by cattle ranchers.

The scientific director of Brazilian NGO IPAM (Institute of Environmental Research in Amazonia) said in a recent statement, “these are not wildfires, but rather fires set by people seeking to create cattle ranches, intentionally ignited during the dry season each year.” She added, “they cut the trees, leave the wood to dry and later put fire to it so that the ashes can fertilize the soil.

Lamb also has a significant environmental impact. One report by the Environmental Working Group states it’s even higher than beef, this is because much of the meat produced by a lamb is not edible and goes to waste.

In 2018, the United Nations Environment Program named tackling meat consumption as one of the world’s most urgent problems. It stated, “the greenhouse gas footprint of animal agriculture rivals that of every car, truck, bus, ship, airplane, and rocket ship combined.