“Who doesn’t know them, these suburban fathers, with a bottle of beer in one hand and grill tongs in the other, roasting 70-cent sausages on a 700-euro grill.” This is where Daniel Cox, of the German section of the American organization People for the Humane Treatment of Animals (PETA), published in their press release.
What grilling in Germany is a purely male occupation, has been known for a long time. The PETA employee does not dispute this. What’s more, he calls men in Germany “grilling champions”. But what follows further in the text stirred up the German public, politicians and the media. Leading German publications published reports in the wake of the same press release titled “PETA demands sex ban for all male meat eaters”. Needless to say, this is not the first scandalous action on the account of the organization. In order not to get lost in conjectures, DW decided to ask Daniel Cox himself if the latest publication of the German section of PETA is fake.
Daniel Cox: We are completely serious. We picked up the main conclusion of the Plos One study (an international interdisciplinary scientific journal – Ed.). The bottom line is that men leave a larger carbon footprint, lead a lifestyle that causes more harm. climate. In general, the difference between men and women in this regard reaches 41 percent. So we’ve taken the opportunity to show that our lifestyle not only results in endless animal suffering for our momentary pleasure, but our eating habits add fuel to the climate crisis.
Deutsche Welle: But you practically created such an image of the enemy. The father of the family who stands behind the grill and roasts his sausages. It’s a classic in Germany. Have you gone too far?
– No, we don’t think so. Because men who grill and eat meat on their expensive braziers at home, buying cheap sausages in discount stores, destroy the foundation of the life of their own children or unborn offspring. They are destroying the planet, heating it up and causing the suffering and death of two million animals a day. Only in Germany, such an amount is slaughtered daily for the sake of meat consumption. On average, a German eats 1,500 animals in his life, it’s hard to even imagine. After all, no one would be able to grill or have sex on a dead planet if it became uninhabitable. Such men play with the future of their children.
– The press release also refers to unborn children. “Each unborn child saves 58.6 tons of CO2 emissions per year.” This sounds very tough. Why are you talking about children like that?
– Of course, we want to shake people up, wake them up, make them think. We hope that thanks to our exaggerated demands, people will think about their nutrition and become vegan because only a vegan lifestyle can stop the killing of defenseless creatures and prevent the climate crisis. 20 percent of human emissions are from the consumption of animal products. This is more than the fault of transport. Even if we all switch to electric cars, we will not be able to solve the problem of the climate crisis. But each of us can decide three times a day: eat plant foods and keep animals alive, or continue to eat animals.
– Do you eat meat?
– No, I don’t eat meat, I’m a vegan.
– That is, it turns out that you can have sex, but men who eat sausages are not.
– Right. If you exaggerate, then that’s it.
– Why then only men? Today, when people talk about gender equality and oppose all forms of discrimination, is this really appropriate? I think now many men have felt the discrimination. Women also eat meat and love barbecue.
– If you look at the study we refer to, a very clear picture emerges. It looks at food preferences, how we eat. It turns out that men are 41 percent more harmful to the climate than women. If there were other conclusions of scientists, then we would talk about women. It has been scientifically proven that men consume a lot of animal products. The share of vegetarians and vegans among women is significantly higher than among men. Unfortunately, the men here still have to catch up.
– It’s just one study. You don’t think that, for example, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) can say that you only have black or white.
– Maybe, of course. There are many studies in the field of nutrition. For us, it was a study that we could well use in the interests of our cause to put forward the appropriate requirements.
– That is almost a publicity stunt.
– You received attention, it worked well for you, but also criticism. I don’t think most people got your message. You are already being criticized.
– Yes, right. It’s always like that. Anyone who tells the uncomfortable truth that we need to change our eating habits, and we need to do it quickly, is not liked to be heard. People are reluctant to listen to the fact that we need to save gas, that we need to drive cars less. This is a normal reaction. Change is always painful, it’s a process.
– You still demand to introduce a tax on meat, 41 percent. How do you imagine that?
– We have long been demanding the introduction of a tax on meat, we are demanding the abolition of VAT on products of plant origin. For example, for grains, vegetables, products, because they are more beneficial for the climate than animal products. This has been scientifically proven. And we demand an increase in the tax on products of animal origin – meat, butter (this product generally causes the highest harm to the environment), eggs and others. Now the German government is discussing measures to increase the cost of meat products so that the population does not buy so much meat. And since men are 41 percent more harmful to the climate than women, we propose a tax on men that is immediately tangible and leads to change.
– The study you refer to was published last year. Why are you bringing this topic up now?
– French politician Sandrine Rousseau mentioned this study (The Green Party politician demanded a rethink to stop grilled meat from being a symbol of masculinity. – Red.)
– But German politicians have already reacted too, and rather harshly.
– I saw the comments in Bild (German tabloid – Ed.). They, of course, polled the politicians of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union (two conservative parties in Germany – Ed.). I understand that they are not happy.
– So you are ready for criticism? And even if offended grill lovers take to the streets and say that you have damaged their image, will you still insist on your point?
– Oh sure. Eating, eating can’t be a personal matter for everyone if meat consumption leads to such consequences. We are flying at full speed towards a climate catastrophe. It can’t be a private matter whether or not to grill meat if it’s for the sake of killing and suffering. Think about the conditions in which animals are kept. They live for such a short time, then they are killed. And the “order” for this is made by the person standing at the grill, because he goes to the store and buys this meat. It can’t be a private matter.
– But you are not only talking about nutrition, you are still rushing into the bedroom to see them. You demand a ban on sex for such men. Are you overstepping the bounds here?
– Well, politics will never go to the adoption of the ban on sex. This is our message: if you continue to grill meat, consume meat in such quantities as before, then you should be subject to the ban on sex. Then your carbon footprint, which is already catastrophic, will not be worsened by the fact that you will produce children. Here’s an idea. This should wake people up. People, of course, are outraged now, but they are already thinking.
Who are you saving the planet for? Not for kids? Your message can be read in such a way that it is better for you then the meat eater will roast the meat, but not have sex or not procreate. You don’t think that a young man can say: “I can’t refuse meat, but I can live without children.” Could this be a compromise for you?
– No, in our ideas – the veganization of society. It is better for us if a person will produce offspring, but stop killing animals. Today it is so easy to replace meat in your diet.
– But imagine a specific man? What if he gives up on the idea of having children?
– It’s a personal decision then. I do not think that someone will decide this question for themselves. This is such a “Trojan horse” to make people think. Provocation.