Reason why city has banned meat advertising: 'Very harmful'

A city in Europe will become the first to ban meat advertising in public spaces in a bid to combat climate change.

Haarlem, located to the west of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, will enforce the ban from 2024 as greenhouse gas emissions from meat production have been found to contribute to the climate crisis.

Haarlem city in the Netherlands where meat ads will be banned
Haarlem, in the Netherlands, will become the first city in the world to ban meat advertising in public spaces. Source: Getty

The motion, drafted by green political party GroenLinks, will prohibit meat advertisements on Haarlem's buses, shelters and screens in public spaces.

However, the motion has faced fierce opposition from the meat sector who say that it is stifling free speech by telling people what's best for them.

Meat production generates greenhouse gas emissions

Recent studies suggest global food production is responsible for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, with the use of animals for meat accounting for nearly 60 per cent of these emissions.

The UN says that livestock generates more than 14 per cent of all man-made greenhouse gasses, including methane.

Currently, about 95 per cent of people in the Netherlands eat meat, while more than half do not eat it every day, according to Statistics Netherlands.

Woman pretends to eat meat burger in ad
The Dutch city will ban most meat ads from 2024, after meat production was deemed to contribute significantly to the climate crisis. Source: Getty

Ziggy Klazes, a councillor from the GroenLinks party, who drafted the motion banning meat ads, said it was harmful to encourage people to buy products that are contributing to the climate crisis.

"Meat is very harmful to the environment. We cannot tell people that there is a climate crisis and encourage them to buy products that are part of it," Mr Klazes told the Trouw newspaper.

The government of the city of 160,000 says it has not yet been decided whether sustainably produced meat will be included in the ad ban.

Proposal faces backlash from meat industry

While the proposal was supported by MPs from the Christian Democratic Challenge party, it faced swift backlash from the meat industry.

"The authorities are going too far in telling people what's best for them," said a spokesman from the Central Organisation for the Meat Sector.

The right-wing Belang van Nederland (BVNL) party called it an "unacceptable violation of entrepreneurial freedom".

"Banning commercials from politically born motives is almost dictatorial," said Haarlem BVNL councillor, Joey Rademaker.

Ban could infringe on freedom of expression

Herman Bröring, a law professor from the University of Groningen, warned the ban could infringe on freedom of expression and result in lawsuits from wholesalers.

The ban also covers advertising of holiday flights, fossil fuels and cars that run on fossil fuels. However, the ban is delayed until 2024, due to existing contracts with companies that sell the products.

Amsterdam and The Hague have already banned adverts for the aviation and fossil fuel industries in an effort to reduce their climate impact.

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