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Meat consumption in Germany and the effects

No other food has as many negative effects on the environment as meat. This is because meat consumption leads to increased species extinction, a high waste of resources and favours climate change.

Meat consumption in Germany

On average, Germans consume around 60 kg of meat per year. Men eat twice as much meat as women; on average, men eat around 1100 g per week, while women only eat 600 g. Pork and poultry are particularly popular.

Although consumers are trying to reduce their meat consumption and the proportion of vegetarians and vegans is also increasing significantly, around 75% of the population still eats meat every day.

In the course of a lifetime, every German eats an average of 1,094 animals: 945 chickens, 46 pigs, 46 turkeys, 37 ducks, 12 geese, 4 cattle and 4 sheep.

These large numbers can only be guaranteed by mass animal husbandry.

Mass animal husbandry

The majority of meat production now comes from factory farms. In factory farming, the animals only have a few square metres at their disposal, meaning that they cannot meet their natural needs.

These farms and slaughterhouses are usually located far away from human settlements. This is because people want to enjoy the meat without a guilty conscience, without the stench and without blood.

As the animals live together in large numbers in very confined spaces, diseases and infections often occur. To combat these, the animals are given antibiotics in their drinking water. Around 75% of antibiotics sold in Germany are administered to animals. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also assumes that healthy animals currently receive more antibiotics than sick people.

In the end, the animals in factory farming only have a short and sad life until they are slaughtered. However, the proportion of animals that die before slaughter is also high. For example, more than 20 per cent of all pigs die during fattening.

The sterile handling and frequent use of antibiotics also leads to the animals' intestinal bacteria being damaged, meaning that vitamin B12 can no longer be synthesised. This is why animals in factory farming are given vitamin B12 supplements. You can find out more about vitamin B12 at Basic knowledge of micronutrients

The effects of meat consumption

Waste of resources

Today's high meat consumption is a drain on the earth's resources. It takes around 10,000 litres of water to produce one kilogramme of pork and 15,000 litres for beef. At the same time, 1.1 billion people have no access to clean drinking water.

Groundwater is also polluted with fertilisers, weedkillers and insecticides.

Climate change

High meat consumption is a major cause of global warming. This is because the production and consumption of animal-based foods, especially meat, is responsible for a large proportion of the greenhouse gases nitrous oxide and methane, which are far more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide (CO2). Livestock farming is responsible for around 14.5 per cent of all greenhouse gases worldwide.

Greenhouse gases cause the average temperature of the atmosphere and oceans to rise. As a result, environmental disasters occur more frequently.

Extinction of species

High meat consumption is accelerating the extinction of species around the world. In many countries, forests are being cut down to make way for pasture or arable land for the production of animal feed. Due to the deforestation of rainforests, many animal and plant species are disappearing from our planet. Even in industrialised countries, more and more plant and animal species are threatened with extinction.


Nowadays, we produce enough food to feed the entire world population. Despite this, one in nine people in the world still go to bed hungry. Around 815 million people around the world do not have enough to eat, especially people in developing countries.

Only almost half of the grain grown worldwide is used as food, while around one third is destined for animal feed. To produce one kilogramme of pork, for example, a farmer needs around three kilogrammes of plant-based feed.

The high demand for maize, soya or wheat as animal feed leads to rising prices for these foods. People in poorer countries can then no longer afford these staple foods. In addition, small farmers are forced off their land and can no longer grow food themselves.

Increasing diseases

In the meantime, more and more people are no longer responding to treatment with antibiotics.

The cause is the frequent use of antibiotics, and not just in medical practices or hospitals. In factory farming, antibiotics are used as a preventative measure against diseases. The bacteria then begin to mutate and become resistant to the antibiotics used.

Theresistant bacteria now enter the human body through the consumption of meat. The antibiotics then fail against these resistant bacteria and diseases cannot be treated properly.


High meat consumption has many negative effects. This is because meat consumption leads to increased species extinction, a high waste of resources and favours climate change. It is therefore beneficial to avoid meat.

A good alternative to meat is tofu, for example. This is because tofu also contains valuable proteins, with less fat and calories. It is cholesterol-free, more resource-friendly and more environmentally friendly.

If you still don't want to do without meat, you should buy it from your trusted butcher