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Argentinians react to report linking

meat to cancer.
1. How do you think Argentinians reacted to the news?
As he prepared to order lunch in one of Buenos Aires many steak
restaurants, Jorge Bacaloni declared himself unlikely to change his beefcentred diet despite the World Health Organisations conclusion that red
meats are more carcinogenic than previously thought.
In a report published on Monday, the WHOs International Agency for
Research on Cancer concluded that red meat is probably carcinogenic to
humans.
But in Argentina, which has one of the highest levels of meat consumption
in the world, the study was met with scepticism.
Im aware of the health risks, but its part of our culture, said Bacaloni,
who estimates that he eats between a kilogram and 1.5kgs of meat each
week.
2. Do you think Jorge will change his ways because of the news?
Most of that is from cattle, putting Bacaloni around the average in
Argentina, where consumption per capita was 59.4kg of beef in 2014.
As well as the pure pleasure of home grills and estraa dishes in beef
houses, the lawyer said that it was a custom. This is part of our history. Part
of our life, he says. And at least cows in Argentina are raised on pastures
rather than in sheds. Its more natural.
But

he

was

more

concerned

for

his

family

that

the

World Health Organisation had classified processed meat in the same


cancer-risk category as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos.
I have a three-year-old son. Weve been giving him sausage, but Ill stop
that, he said. He too is adjusting his diet, though for different reasons. Ill
have chicken today, but only because Im on a diet.
3. What changes will he make?
4. What reasons does he give for his scepticism?

5. Why does he think Argentine beef is better than in other


countries?

6. Why do you think Argentines eat so much meat?


Fashion designer Marcela Duhalde laughs when she explains how often she
eats steak. l hate cooking so when I have to make food I always choose a Tbone steak and tomatoes because its easy and delicious. I have it maybe
four or five times a week, she says. I ought to be huge.
Raised on a farm, she says eating meat is a custom. My family was very
carnivorous. If we didnt have meat, we didnt consider it a meal.
This is a common refrain. The first cattle were introduced by the Spanish
conquistadores in the 16th century and they soon became a feature on the
pampas the vast grasslands that stretch across much of the country
while their meat was an integral part of the gaucho cowboy culture.
7. Why does Marcela eat meat so often?
8. How often does she eat steak?
9. Is this too often?

10.

Why do some people say that they could never be

vegetarian?
11.

What effect do you think the WHOs decision will have

on peoples habits?
Duhalde says she is concerned about the agrochemicals, antibiotics, tainted
cattle feed and the generally poor conditions that many cattle are kept in,
but vegetarianism is not option. Nor it seems is cutting back.
Everything I like is unhealthy steak, alcohol, drugs and other things. Id
rather die than give it all up. I dont have the energy to be happy without
them.
She didnt expect the WHO decision to make much of an impact on
Argentinas love of steaks in the short term, but she thought it could make a

difference in the distant future if the evidence mounted up and led to the
same sort of health campaigns that are now common with tobacco.
This makes us start thinking about the risks, but there is a big distance
between thinking about things and actually changing our habits.
12.

What things worry Marcela about meat production?

13.

Why could she never be a vegetarian?

14.

Whats her conclusion?

15.

Whats your opinion?