Despite numerous warnings that humans must significantly reduce the amount of meat they are consuming in order to reduce our impact on the planet and cut greenhouse gas emissions, the Commission has backed the €4.5m (£4m) three-year-long campaign.
The EU will finance 80 per cent (€3.6m) of the budget and ads will run in France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Spain.
The campaign is part of the wider “Proud of European Beef” project, which has been launched by meat organisations Provacuno in Spain and APAQ-W in Belgium.
The Proud of European Beef project’s page on the EU’s website states: “Over the last decade throughout Europe the fresh meat consumption has faced constant decrease.
“The aim of this campaign is to incite the consumers not to have a stereotyped idea about red meat and to enable them to be again confident about their consumption decision.”
An advertisement featuring shots of artfully arranged cuts of meat in various culinary scenarios along with various healthy-looking young people spells out what it means to be a “beefatarian”.
“If the sound of beef sizzling on the grill brings tears of joy to your eyes, you’re a real beefatarian”, a voice says over images of browned hunks of meat being sprayed with salt – reminiscent of Salt Bae’s kitchen antics.
It cuts to footage of slim women cycling in mountains and sitting in a restaurant, and goes on: “If you have a balanced diet and don’t hesitate to order a side of ribeye with your asparagus, you’re a real beefatarian.”
Then, viewers are exposed to someone putting on a pair of wellies, while the narrator says: “If you support sustainable farming by choosing European beef, you are real beefatarians.”
It finishes: “Become a beefatarian, and of course, a real beefatarian eats salad too.”
“With this campaign, we are going to be able to tell the reality of our product and sector to the population, reducing their vulnerability to messages that try to marginalise meat consumption,” said Provacuno director, Javier Lopez.
“We want to send clear and direct messages that generate confidence and reaffirm Europeans in their free decision to consume beef without feeling singled out, and with the necessary arguments to proudly defend the consumption of a product of the highest quality, sustainable and respectful with the environment and animal welfare.”
The EU is a major producer of beef, and produced 2.7 million tonnes of beef in the first five months of 2020, according to European Commission data.
In a major campaign against meat consumption, Greenpeace has warned European countries including the UK need to reduce meat eating by 70 per cent in the next decade to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown.
Greenpeace EU spokesperson John Hyland told The Independent: “The science is clear that the huge amounts of meat farmed and eaten in Europe has a disastrous impact on the climate and nature, and that beef contributes hugely to this.
“The EU should be setting targets for reducing meat in line with climate goals, producing less and producing it in a better way, and spending its money to support that. Wasting public money on an ad campaign to increase beef consumption while claiming to care about climate action doesn't add up, and is a terrible idea.”
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