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The Explainer: Why are we being told to eat less meat?

We speak to a food expert and a beef farmer who’s also a journalist.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR probably didn’t expect the reaction he got when he said that he was reducing his meat consumption because of climate and health concerns.

While those in some quarters welcomed the news, some of the country’s TDs were less than impressed. Charlie McConalogue of Fianna Fáil said Varadkar’s comment did not show the “type of leadership you would expect from Taoiseach”.

His Fianna Fáil colleague Jackie Cahill called Varadkar’s dietary admission a “flippant comment” which was “totally inappropriate for the head of government and hugely damaging” to the farming sector.

It all led to the Taoiseach telling the Dáil the next day that he wasn’t becoming a vegan – and that he’d had a steak for dinner the previous night.

In this week’s episode of The Explainer, we look at the issues around climate change, meat eating and farming in Ireland. Reporter Cormac Fitzgerald, who has written our week-long climate change series this week, gives the latest updates on the three major reports which recommend people cut down on meat. 

Meanwhile, Dr Jesus Frias, Academic Leader Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute (ESHI) at TU Dublin, tells us more about meat, health and food trends. And journalist and beef farmer Darragh McCullough gives us the farmer’s perspective.

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Source: The Explainer/SoundCloud

This episode was put together by presenter Sinéad O’Carroll, producer Aoife Barry, assistant producer and technical operator Nicky Ryan, and executive producer Christine Bohan. Design by Palash Somani. Edited and recorded by Andy Roberts.

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