Dutch town to ban meat ads as part of world’s first demand

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The Hague (AFP) – The Dutch city of Haarlem is set to become the first in the world to ban advertisements for most meats due to its impact on climate change, officials said on Wednesday.

The city of 160,000 near Amsterdam has agreed to ban advertisements for intensively farmed meat in public places like buses, shelters and screens from 2024.

The move was approved by city council in November but went unnoticed until last week when a councilor announced he had officially notified advertising agencies.

“It will be the first city in the Netherlands – and indeed in Europe and even the world – to ban advertisements for ‘bad’ meat in public places,” said Ziggy Klazes, councilor for the GroenLinks (Greens- Left) who drafted the motion, told AFP.

She said it goes against city policy to “make money by renting out public space in the city to products that accelerate global warming.”

The ban would target all “cheap, intensively farmed meat,” Klazes said, adding, “as far as I’m concerned, that includes ads from fast-food chains.”

The city had yet to decide whether or not to ban organic meat ads.

Amsterdam and The Hague have already banned advertisements for air travel, petrol cars and fossil fuels, but now Haarlem is about to add meat to that list.

The ban has been criticized by the Dutch meat industry and some political parties as a form of censorship and stigmatization of meat eaters.

“Banning ads for political reasons is almost dictatorial,” Joey Rademaker, a Haarlem adviser for the right-wing BVNL party, said in a statement.

Dutch meat industry body Centrale Organisatie voor de Vleessector said authorities in Haarlem were “going too far in telling people what was best for them”, the Trouw newspaper reported.

The sector recently launched its own campaign called “Netherlands Meatland” to promote meat consumption.

“To go too far”

The Haarlem ban comes at a sensitive time for the Netherlands, which has seen months of protests by angry farmers over government plans to cut nitrogen emissions to meet EU environmental targets.

The Dutch government wants to reduce the country’s herd of four million cows by almost a third and possibly close some farms.

Angry farmers have blocked roads with manure and garbage, started fires and staged huge rallies of tractors to protest, drawing support from right-wingers around the world, including former US President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the legal status of carnivorous repression is also uncertain.

A ban could be challenged as an attack on free speech, administrative law professor Herman Broering of the University of Groningen told the Trouw newspaper.

Haarlem council still needs to consider legal issues before the ban can come into effect, added Ziggy Klazes.

“You can’t ban ads for one company, but you can ban ads for a group of products” for public health, she said.

“Take the example of cigarette advertisements.”

Agriculture contributes to deforestation, climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, and is a major consumer of fresh water.

The EU has suggested that people reduce their consumption of meat and dairy products.

Some 95% of Dutch people eat meat, 20% of them every day, according to the Dutch Central Statistical Office.

Other countries ban advertising for certain types of food, including junk food, although for health rather than climate reasons.

Britain is banning TV adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt before 9 p.m. from 2023 to help reduce childhood obesity.

Singapore has banned advertisements for the most unhealthy sugary drinks.

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