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The President of the National Meat Institute (INAC) of Uruguay, Fernando Mattos, has spoken of his desire to invite Bill Gates to visit the South American country following his recent statements against the sector as a decisive element of the fight against climate change.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Uruguayan agronomist rejected Gates’ words “as reckless and unfounded” and criticized his claim that “livestock farming is the cause of such effects” when, precisely, the sector revises “downward emissions calculations.”
Gates indicated in recent days that meat production is the cause of “a climate disaster that causes global warming and will leave more dead than the pandemic,” which is why he promotes the consumption of 100% synthetic meat.
In his letter, Mattos compared the intellectual and digital piracy against which “numerous law firms” hired by Gates are fighting with the promotion of “products of laboratory companies that imitate meat and of which he is a shareholder”.
“Call it what you want, but it is not meat!” added the head of INAC, who called it a “deliberate deception of the consumer” to label as meat “a product that should not be called that way.”
Mattos acknowledged in his statement the sector’s concern for “the sustainability of livestock production processes” and concluded by inviting Gates “to visit Uruguay, a country with more than 400 years of livestock farming based on natural pastures and which is an example of sustainability.”
“You cannot accuse a sector by generalizing, without respecting tens of thousands of producers who from generation to generation have received and transmitted a way of life, based on the legacy of taking care of the natural resource that nature gave us and that we must pass on in the best way,” he said.
Gates’s remarks were echoed and strongly contested by various sectors of public life in Uruguay, a country where meat is a fundamental part not only of its gastronomy but also of its entire culture, with the barbecue ritual at the core of daily celebrations.
Beef is one of Uruguay’s main export products, mainly to China, the United States and Israel, although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected sales. Nevertheless, it was the main export product in the first month of 2021, with revenues of US$130 million.