Swiss government wants residents to eat less meat to protect the climate

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Swiss government wants residents to eat less meat to protect the climate
Switzerland wants people to cut down on meat. Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

The Swiss government wants to increase the costs of imported meat and promote plant-based food as part of a new climate strategy.


The draft of the 'Climate Strategy Agriculture and Food 2050', which was viewed by the NZZ am Sonntag, says that the Swiss government aims to reduce its ecological footprint caused by nutrition by two thirds.

The package of measures aims to persuade the population to cut down on meat consumption, which authorities say would help to protect the climate and be healthier. 

Many points of the report are open to interpretation, but the government does state clearly that it wants to change the way that food is cultivated and consumed in Switzerland. 

The draft reportedly proposes that the import of environmentally friendly products be made cheaper, while products less favourable to the climate would get pricier. 

That would mean, for instance, that imported meat would become more expensive, while organic vegetables from nearby countries would get cheaper.

A selection of vegetables.

A selection of fruit and vegetables. Switzerland wants to encourage people to eat more plant-based food. Image by Devon Breen from Pixabay

The draft report also states that Swiss farmland should in future be used mainly for the direct production of human food. At the moment, about 60 percent is used to grow animal feed. The federal government would subsidise more plant cultivation, while animal farming would receive less money.

FACT CHECK: Are Switzerland's Greens banned from eating meat?


Agricultural sector fighting back

The climate strategy was put together by the Federal Offices for Agriculture, Environment and Food Safety, with plenty of input from various lobby groups. 

But - unsurprisingly - not everyone is thrilled by the direction the government is taking. The agricultural sector in particular has been pushing back against many of the proposed changes.

The plan is expected to be presented to the Swiss public in September. 

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