The Portuguese Milk Producers Association (APROLEP) has criticized a screening of a vegan documentary at a Barcelona high school today, saying the film is a "distorted picture" of animal production.
In a statement sent to Lucy, APROLEP alludes to various "inaccuracies" and calls on parents and teachers to be "aware" of the dietary choices of young people, recommending that they be advised by "nutritionists, not activists".
He says there are "innumerable testimonies" of young people who converted to veganism after watching the documentary and then leaving it "for health reasons."
The principal of Barcelos High School, Jorge Saleiro, who was contacted by Lusa, said APROLEP "has a storm at the wedding reception" and that the sole purpose "is to spark a debate on the inevitable issue of climate change and the future of the planet."
"It's not at all intended to convert anyone. It's just and just debating, provoking debate," he said.
At stake is the 2014 documentary "Cowpirates: The Secret to Sustainability," which highlights animal production as the most influential human activity on the planet, be it greenhouse gas production, pasture destruction, or food production or water and soil pollution.
Today, the documentary is screened at Barcelos High School for students in four grade 11 classes, in line with the school's national cinema plan.
The school, in a note posted on its page, states that the climate case is "a subject that does not allow delays in discussions" and recalls the recent stance taken by the University of Coimbra not to serve beef in its canteens.
The People-Animals-Nature Party (PAN) was expected to attend the session, but in the meantime the school decided to limit the discussion to students and teachers.
"We understand that it would not be convenient at this point to have any representative of any political force," Jorge Saleiro explained.
The possible presence of a NAP representative was first challenged by APROLEP because it is someone who is "not an expert in agriculture, livestock or climate change".
The association complained that someone "with experience and training" was present to explain the importance of raising dairy cattle in Barcelona, an activity involving hundreds of families in the country.
He also says that the documentary presents greenhouse gas emissions data "misguided and challenged by several independent and exempt entities."
The documentary says that 51% of all greenhouse gases come from animal production, when, according to APROLEP, "scientific consensus" indicates values around 14.5% worldwide.
"In Portugal, data for 2017 indicate that cattle produce only 4.5% of greenhouse gases," APROLEP points out.
For the association: "It is urgent to ensure that our youth are not unilaterally indoctrinated, but encouraged to question, discuss, question why, forming a fact-based, single-minded and critical thinking that can only be encouraged. ".
The school board has already announced an opening to schedule a screening and discussion of some alternative work of the film in question, proposed by APROLEP.