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Dutch city is first to ban meat advertising in the world


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Haarlem, the Netherlands, is about to ban most meat advertisements in public spaces because of the climate impact of this animal protein.

The ban will apply from 2024 — and it is believed to be the first city in the world to take such an initiative.

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The proposal drawn up by GroenLinks — a green political party — has faced opposition from the meat industry and those who claim it stifles free speech.

The UN (United Nations) states that livestock generates more than 14% of all man-made greenhouse gases, including methane.

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“Meat is very harmful to the environment. We cannot tell people there is a climate crisis and encourage them to buy products that are part of it,” Ziggy Klazes, a GroenLinks councilor who drafted the proposal, told Trouw newspaper.

The government of the city of 160,000 said it had not yet decided whether sustainably produced meat would be included in the ad ban.

The proposal was also supported by lawmakers from the Christian Democratic Challenge party.

The meat industry’s reaction was swift.

“The authorities are going too far in telling people what’s best for them,” said a spokesman for the Central Meat Industry Organization.

The right-wing BVNL party called the measure an “unacceptable violation of business freedom” – and said it “would be fatal for pig farmers”.

“Banning advertising on political grounds is almost dictatorial,” said BVNL councilor Joey Rademaker.

Herman Bröring, a law professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, warns that the ban could infringe on freedom of expression and lead to lawsuits by distributors.

About 95% of people in the Netherlands eat meat, but more than half don’t eat it every day, according to Statistics Netherlands.

Amsterdam and The Hague have already banned advertisements for the aviation and fossil fuel industries.

Beef produces the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, which include methane. Lamb has the second largest environmental footprint, but these emissions are 50% lower than beef.

This text was originally published here.

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