Dutch city bans certain meat advertisements in public spaces | Smart News

Ads like this for Tesco turkey in London may no longer be allowed in the Dutch city of Haarlem from 2024.
Mike Kemp / In pictures via Getty Images

The Dutch city of Haarlem is the first in the world to ban advertisements for certain meats in public spaces, reports Maarten van Gestel for the Dutch newspaper Find.

Ziggy Klazes, city councilor of the green political party Groenlinks, tells Find that the ban is motivated by the negative effect of meat production on the climate. She tells Agence France-Presse (AFP) that this contradicts Haarlem’s policy of “making money by renting public space in the city to products that accelerate global warming”.

Haarlem will start enforcing the ban in 2024, when current advertising contracts expire. But it’s not yet clear what types of ads the ban will cover. For example, the government has not decided whether adverts for sustainably produced meat will be allowed, according to the BBC. George Wright.

But adverts for “cheap, intensively-farmed meat” are on the chopping block, Klazes told AFP. “As far as I’m concerned, that includes ads from fast food chains.”

The motion aims to tackle the significant climate impact of meat production. The livestock industry alone accounts for around 14% of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the BBC. Livestock digestion processes, manure storage and fertilizers release planet-warming methane and nitrous oxide, which are 25 times and 265 times more effective at trapping heat, respectively, than carbon dioxide.

In addition, forests that would otherwise absorb carbon dioxide are cut down by ranchers to make room for animals to graze, according to the of the guardian Daniel Boffey. If nothing is done, the industry’s impact on the environment will only increase as the world’s population continues to grow, wrote the of the guardian Hannah Devlin in 2018.

Haarlem’s motion has already received backlash from meat producers, according to the BBC. “Authorities go too far in telling people what is best for them,” a spokesman for the Central Meat Organization said in a statement.

It is unclear whether the proposed ban could be legally challenged. Herman Bröring, expert in administrative law at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, tells Find that the ban could possibly be interpreted as a violation of freedom of expression. “At the same time”, he says Find“some offenses are permitted”.

In defense of the petition, Klazes told AFP that advertisements for products posing a risk to public health, such as cigarettes, may be banned.

The news comes as Dutch farmers are protesting a federal plan to cut nitrogen emissions by reducing the size of the country’s cow herd and potentially closing some farms, according to AFP. Protesters burned hay and manure along highways and caused blockades with their tractors, Claire Moses wrote for the New York Times in August. Agriculture is the biggest contributor to nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands, and the government wants to reduce these emissions by 50% by 2030 to meet European Union requirements, according to the Time.

The ban on meat advertisements in Haarlem follows similar decisions in other Dutch cities: Amsterdam, Leiden and The Hague banned advertisements for air travel, petrol cars and the fuel industry fossils, according to Find. And the French city of Grenoble banned all public advertisements in 2014.

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Health Communication found that people who viewed ads with images of meat reported a higher desire to eat it. But it remains to be seen what effect the Dutch ban will have on meat consumption, where 95% of people currently eat meat, but less than half eat it every day, according to the BBC.

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