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Episode 3: To each animal its own pleasure?

Animal welfare, environmental protection and free market economy.


German livestock farming is under pressure: international competition here, demands for higher animal welfare and environmental standards there. Any form of animal husbandry is associated with environmental impacts. Are there options for making animal welfare, environmental and climate protection an integral part of agriculture?

(only in German)

„There has been a trend reversal in the past ten years. For the first time in 60 years, meat consumption has been reduced in Germany .“
Dr. Knut Ehlers, Umweltbundesamt

In February 2020, the "Competence Network for Farm Animal Husbandry", better known as the Borchert Commission, presented its Farm Animal Strategy, a scientifically sound proposal for how to permanently improve animal welfare in Germany. Since then, however, it has been waiting to be implemented. A renewed mandate from the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, has been put on hold until there is a clear commitment from politicians.

The Federal Environment Agency is also convinced that animal husbandry should be restructured, as the direct and indirect environmental and climate impacts in its current form are not sustainable in the long term. To achieve this, on the one hand, production would have to be made more environmentally and climate friendly - for example, through greenland-based cattle farming or new technical possibilities. On the other hand, the production and consumption of animal products in Germany would also have to be reduced.

How realistic such proposals are, what influence the government can exert, what role the VAT rate plays in climate-friendly nutrition - this is what our guests Knut Ehlers and Folkhard Isermeyer discuss in this episode.

Our guests

Dr. Knut Ehlers is an agricultural scientist and heads the Agriculture Department at the Umweltbundesamt. The aim of his work is to make agriculture environmentally sound and sustainable.


Prof. Dr. Folkhard Isermeyer is President of the Thünen Institute. As a member of the Competence Network for Farm Animal Husbandry (in short: Borchert Commission), the agricultural economist played a key role in the development of a concept for a state animal welfare premium.


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