Fact Check: Did Europe’s meat consumption REALLY drop by 20% over three months?
Did you see an article recently floating around social media claiming that meat consumption in Europe's has “dropped by 20 percent in the space of two to three months.”
Did you perhaps share it? If so, you’re not alone.
At time of this writing, over 2,000 people have shared the piece on Facebook alone, the initial post with over 10,000 likes and reactions.
It cites claims by Jeff Grant who, in 2018, was appointed the red meat industry’s representative on Brexit.
At the Red Meat Sector Conference 2019, Grant stated there had been a 20% drop. But in a video from the conference, he points out that recent heatwaves across Europe are the main reason for the meat consumption decline.
Furthermore, Grant admitted in an email that he misspoke in his statement regarding the meat industry across Europe. He said [emphasis added]:
“What I was meant to say that consumption of red meat in some weeks over the last three months in the UK have been down 20%.
“The basis is discussions and comments with one of the large Processors , BMPA and farmers when enquiring especially Beef price which have been so sluggish over the summer.
“Official data will not be available until some months but also Kantar who track confirm consumption reductions.”
Social media users will be sorely disappointed to discover that while meat consumption MAY have dropped over three months in Europe, we don’t know for certain if it has, by how much, or even why.
But in the meantime, longtime vegan and digital media researcher Christopher Sebastian said:
“Situations like this one are an absolute nightmare. When animal rights campaigners share misinformation, there’s no putting that genie back in the bottle.
"We all have a responsibility to vet our social media content carefully. Misleading stories or poorly understood headlines damage our credibility. And that doesn’t help animals or humans.”