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A few simple statements to The Guardian by the minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, have snowballed into a big problem. The leader of Unidas Podemos assured that Spanish extensive agriculture "is environmentally sustainable" and has great importance in many parts of Spain, as opposed to macro-farms, industrial livestock farming, which produces "poor quality meat" with animal abuse and environmental impact. But the right and the extreme right took a single sentence, the latter, and spread it out of context. PP, Vox and Ciudadanos joined the offensive against Garzón from the beginning, but socialist barons such as Javier Lambán from Aragon or Emiliano García-Page from Castilla-La Mancha did so too. Today, Pedro Sánchez, who has uncovered a second “steak war” (referred to the tensions over Garzón’s declarations against the meat industry), has also joined the fray.

This time, the Spanish prime minister was more sophisticated than when Garzón defended that it was necessary to reduce —not stop— meat consumption. Then, Sánchez said that there was nothing better than "a good medium steak". Today, the socialist leader said he "greatly regrets" the statements of the minister of Consumer Affairs. Buying into the right-wing campaign, in an interview on Cadena SER, he defended that Spanish meat is of "extraordinary quality" and that it meets Spanish and European standards. The controversy, he reiterated, "does not correspond with the reality of the sector nor with the day-to-day life of the Spanish government".

The response from Unidas Podemos was quick. From another radio station, former Spanish vice-president and former leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, harshly criticised Pedro Sánchez, whom he accused of propagating the "hoax" of the right and the extreme right. "What the prime minister has done today is very serious, he has given veracity to a hoax," denounced Iglesias. "The right wing makes politics through lies. These media no longer interpret reality from a right-wing perspective. That is fake news (...). The fact that the prime minister recognizes that the weight of the hoaxes forces him to admit this lie is very serious," he criticised.

Second vice president and current leader of Unidas Podemos, Yolanda Diaz, also backed Garzón and recalled that "what he has done is simply corroborate what the Spanish government has been defending in its documents" and that these documents say that "we are committed to extensive and sustainable livestock, and that demands a commitment from the government as a whole". Díaz, who is also minister of Labour, warned Pedro Sánchez that it is necessary to "take care of the coalition" and be "careful with one’s words".

Be that as it may, Unidas Podemos were the only ones who defended the statements, placed in context, of minister Alberto Garzón.

More reproaches

Beyond the livestock issue, today has been a day of more reproaches. The minister of Social Rights and Secretary General of Podemos, Iome Belarra, also criticised how in these two years of coalition government it has been "extraordinarily difficult" for the PSOE to "simply comply with what has been agreed". Belarra assured that "too many times the attempts of our partner to remain faithful to the agreement have been labelled as noise" and "the fact that it was the PSOE who once again resisted fulfilling the agreements has been swept under the rug" in a sample of the "two-party culture that our country does not accept any longer". She reiterated: "The agreements must be fulfilled, and we will demand it until the end of the legislature".