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Schleswig-Holstein CDU fights to keep pork on canteen menus

The CDU's Schleswig-Holstein division wants to ensure that pork stays on menus at workplace and school canteens, arguing the meat "belongs to German culture." The idea has been mocked on social media.

The regional arm of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU announced plans on Tuesday to ensure that pork continues to be available at public canteens, as well as child daycare centers and schools across the north German state.

The proposal is due to be presented by the CDU's group in parliament at next week's regional parliamentary session.

CDU parliamentary group leader, Daniel Günther, bemoaned on Tuesday that an increasing number of canteens, nurseries and schools are removing pork from their menu due to religious considerations.

"The protection of minorities - including for religious reasons - must not mean that the majority is overruled in their free decision by ill-conceived consideration," Günther said, arguing that tolerance also means "the appreciation and sufferance of other food cultures and lifestyles."

Symbolbild Wursttheke

German 'wurst' specialties often contain pork

Günther told local German newspaper "Lübecker Nachrichten" that at least one nursery in every voting district had stopped serving pork after taking Muslim children into consideration.

"The consumption of pork belongs to our culture," he argued, adding that those who didn't want to eat pork didn't have to.

"No one should be obliged to do so," he said. "But we also don't want the majority having to refrain from pork."

Pork consumption and breeding play a particularly important role in Schleswig-Holstein. According to the state's Chamber of Agriculture, around 17 percent of revenues originate in agriculture.

'Wurst case scenario'

The CDU's proposal was met with a wave of mockery on Tuesday, particularly on Twitter where the hashtag #schweinefleischpflicht - meaning "pork duty" - became Germany's top trending hashtag by late Tuesday afternoon.

Accompanied with an image with the words "Wurst case scenario" - wurst being the German word for sausage - Germany's Green party tweeted: "Now we finally know what the CDU meant with dominant culture."

"Next the CDU in Schleswig-Holstein will be demanding #potatoduty. Away with rice and spaghetti from German canteens … #porkduty," tweeted user TS_Palm.

Social media user schlaubert tweeted: "In case of emergency, there's force-feeding via ground pork infusion? #pigmeatduty"

Like many German Tweeters, Alf Frommer referred back to the uproar three years ago when Germany's Green party called for a "Veggie Day" in workplace cafeterias at federal government institutions, with the hopes of it becoming a model for corporate and school canteens.

"#VeggieDay was patronizing, but #porkduty is simply our way of life. #Poor Germany," Frommer wrote.

"#VeggieDay was a rubbish idea, but at least it made ecological sense … and what noble purpose does #porkduty serve?" asked Twitter user Andre Teilzeit.

The WWF in Berlin also criticized the CDU proposal. "At present there is little evidence that the pork cutlet and chop must be placed on the menus of German canteens as a protected species," the wildlife protection organization quipped.

"Instead, the CDU should be considering introducing more conscious meat consumption in place of the enormous environmental problems of conventional meat production."

In January, the Danish town of Randers made serving pork in public institutions mandatory, sparking what has been dubbed a "meatball war."

Watch video 03:44

'Meatball war' sparks controversy in Denmark

ksb/ng (dpa, KNA)

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