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CLARIN

Argentina's Famous Meat Industry Grills President Over 'Vegan Mondays'

Beef is a big deal in Argentina. But in the Casa Rosada presidential palace, people (including the president himself) are now going meat-free. What gives?

Argentine cattle
Argentine cattle
Alidad Vassigh

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina is steak country. Meat-eating is a pillar of social life, not to mention an engine for the economy.

So there was bound to be a major beef when the country's powerful meat lobby found out — via Facebook — that the cafeteria at the Argentine presidential palace will only be serving vegan food on Mondays. Cattle ranchers were fired up further when the chief administrator of the presidential office, Fernando de Andreis, implicitly linked their sector with global warming.

The Monday vegan fare at the official residence of President Mauricio Macri is being touted as "good for the planet" and will be enjoyed by all employees of the Casa Rosada — "even the president of the nation," De Andreis announced. Argentina's undersecretary of state for livestock, Rodrigo Troncoso, defended the initiative as well, telling Clarín reporter Pablo Losada that "eating more fruit and vegetables is a good thing."

Eat what you want

Among meat industry representatives, however, the government's healthy-eating push chapped more than a few hides. Ulises Forte, the head of the IPCVA beef lobby, dismissed it as a bid to earn sympathy ahead of parliamentary elections, scheduled for October. "They rarely tell you what to eat. You can eat what you want," he said.

A Buenos Aires protest — Photo: Dandeluca

Forte also insisted that, "No doctor will tell you that fat-free, barbecued or oven cooked meat...is bad for you."

José Luis Triviño, president of the Argentine Feedlot Chamber, an association of cattle farmers, took issue as well, particularly with the government's linking livestock rearing to climate change. "Livestock farming does care for the planet," he said. "Besides, there are a lot of other matters to discuss here. Let's start with the big cities, not the countryside." The debate, over a good meal of your choosing, is sure to continue in Argentina, and beyond.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Important Things: A Rare Unfiltered Look Inside Russian Schools

In Russian schools, lessons on "important things" are a compulsory hour pushing state propaganda. But not everyone is buying it. Independent Russian media outlet Vazhnyye Istorii spoke to teachers, parents and students about how they see patriotism and Putin's mobilization.

Important Things: A Rare Unfiltered Look Inside Russian Schools

High school students attending a seminar in Tambov, Russia

Vazhnyye Istorii

MOSCOW — On March 1, schools found themselves on the ideological front line of the Russian-Ukrainian war. At the end of May, teachers were told they would have to lead classes with students called "Lessons about important things." The topic was "patriotism and civic education."

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At the beginning of November, we learned about the revival of an elementary military training course for senior classes. In the teaching materials sent to the teachers, it was stated that a "special peacekeeping operation was going on, the purpose of which was to restrain the nationalists who oppress the Russian-speaking population."

Independent Russian media outlet Vazhnyye Istorii asked several teachers, students and parents about their experiences with the school's attempt to instill patriotism and Russia's partial mobilization of citizens.

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