Against the attempted greenwashing of the pork industry in the public university

Against the attempted greenwashing of the pork industry in the public university

Against the attempted greenwashing of the pork industry in the public university

  • The Stop Livestock Industrial Coordinator, of which Ecologistas en Acción is a part, denounces the attempted greenwashing of the pork meat industry, which sponsors a training on the sustainability of the sector at the Complutense University of Madrid.
  • The prevailing industrial agricultural and livestock model is responsible for an important part of greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution due to excess nitrates.

The Porcine Agri-Food Interprofessional (INTERPORC) has announced a summer course at the Complutense University of Madrid entitled

“Communication and sustainability in the pig sector” to convey “the true reality of the white coat pig sector in Spain.”

In the course advertising, INTERPORC announces that the syllabus will address “how to combat false narratives and fake news by communicating the triple sustainability of the pork sector and its global leadership in animal welfare and biosafety.”

For the Stop Ganadería Industrial Coordinator, such advertising is “a greenwashing of the book”, in which the meat industry “intends to explain to professionals in the sector and communication, among other people, that a good part of society has a "very distorted image of the pork sector, confused by false myths that associate pork production and products with an image of the past that does not represent its reality."

As social organizations point out, this is not the first time in the EU that the pork industry resorts to greenwashing. Recently, the Danish pork giant, Danish Crown, admitted before the Supreme Court of Denmark to having carried out greenwashing because, with its advertising, it had confused consumers with advertisements and messages about meat that was supposedly “more climate-friendly than believes”, in a manipulation exercise to present its products as green, when they are not.

For all these reasons, the Stop Ganadería Industrial Coordinator has asked the Complutense University of Madrid to withdraw this course, which it considers “should not be introduced into the training offer at a prestigious public university.”

According to the organizations that are part of the state coordinator, the reality that they do not want to expose is that "meat consumption in Spain is well above the FAO recommendations, 100 kg instead of 21." Likewise, they remember that in Spain "there are more pigs than people, we continue to be leaders in the EU with the record number of 58,600,000 pigs slaughtered in 2021 and a serious problem of water contamination due to excessive use of fertilizers."

Furthermore, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that this agri-food model is responsible for 12 % of global emissions, according to its report “Pathways towards lower emissions.” , and urges an urgent mitigation strategy.

Regarding water pollution, a recent study by Ecologistas en Acción shows how 37 % of surface water and 11 % of groundwater in the Spanish State are contaminated by an excess of nitrates. Inma Lozano, spokesperson for Coordinadora Stop Ganadería Industrial, recalled that Spain has failed to comply with Community legislation relating to water quality: “In fact, the European Commission has opened infringement procedures that could involve million-dollar fines. The measures taken so far are insufficient, with 171 municipalities where water cannot be consumed because it is contaminated.”

Natxo Escartín, spokesperson for Ecologistas en Acción, added: “We need a radical transformation of food systems to guarantee the right to healthy, local food, which does not depend on fossil fuels and allows a healthy diet for all people and in all the planet".

The Stop Industrial Livestock State Coordinator is made up of more than 70 neighborhood movements spread across ten autonomous communities and by state and international organizations such as Ecologistas en Acción, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Food Justice, ADDA, Animal Welfare Observatory and UVE. . Its objective is to denounce the environmental and social damages that industrial farms entail and fight for an alternative livestock farming model, respectful of the environment, people and animals.