Traditionally, Germany is a nation of carnivores.
Sure, there have been acts of internal vegetarian dissidence recently, like that time last year when a vegan restaurant opening in Berlin got so out of hand that it required police intervention, or earlier this week when German Environment Minister Barbara Henricks announced that meat and fish would be banned from official government functions because of their environmental burden.
Political posturing and overzealous Environment Ministers aside, we all know that schnitzel, doner, venison currywurst, and Tomahawk steaks from the Black Forest are not going anywhere. In fact, some local governments are wielding their power in the opposite direction.
If you happen to be in the city of Kassel on April 23 for their vegetarian food festival, don't be surprised if you see pork sausages being served. The mere thought of a meatless food festival was so abhorrent to locals that it has become a political issue coinciding with an upcoming mayoral election, according to the BBC.
As a result, city councillors put forth a motion asking environmental group UmweltHaus, the organizers of the event, to serve "local organic meat" at the event, which happens to coincide with Earth Day. For the people, or at least the politicians, of Kassel, this is not an environmental issue, but one of civic pride.
"This is an issue that is close to people's hearts, and for that reason it is of course something we can't ignore in local politics," Dominique Kalb, mayoral candidate for the conservative CDU party, told the BBC. Even the local Green Party candidate abstained from voting on the motion and confessed that the meat-free event would be "a real kick in the guts" for some.
Cured ahle wurst—German dialect for "old sausage"—is made with nutmeg, cloves, pepper, sugar, garlic, cumin and rum or brandy and is a staple of the Hesse region of Germany, where Kassel is located.
Now faced with the possibility of being forced to have meat on site, festival organizers UmweltHaus have responded by saying that there is no more room for additional stalls, drawing the ire of the Senior Citizens' Advisory Council, which has already declared that it will not be attending this year's festivities.
How's that for a "kick in the guts," UmweltHaus?