A Dutch city will become the first in the world to ban meat adverts from public spaces in an effort to reduce consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Haarlem, which lies to the west of Amsterdam and has a population of about 160,000, will enact the prohibition from 2024 after meat was added to a list of products deemed to contribute to the climate crisis.
Adverts will not be allowed on Haarlem’s buses, shelters and screens in public spaces, prompting complaints from the meat sector that the municipality is “going too far in telling people what’s best for them”.
Recent studies suggest global food production is responsible for one-third of all planet-heating emissions, with the use of animals for meat accounting for twice the pollution of producing plant-based foods.
Forests that absorb carbon dioxide are felled for the grazing of animals while fertilisers used for growing their feed are rich in nitrogen, which can contribute to air and water pollution, climate change and ozone depletion. Livestock also produces large quantities of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Ziggy Klazes, a councillor from the GroenLinks party, who drafted the motion banning meat advertising, said she had not known the city would be the world’s first to enforce such a policy when she proposed it.
She told the Haarlem105 radio channel: “We are not about what people are baking and roasting in their own kitchen; if people wanted to continue eating meat, fine … We can’t tell people there’s a climate crisis and encourage them to buy products that are part of the cause.
"Of course, there are a lot of people who find the decision outrageous and patronising, but there are also a lot of people who think it’s fine.
"It is a signal – if it is picked up nationally, that would only be very nice.”
The ban also covers holiday flights, fossil fuels and cars that run on fossil fuels. The ban is delayed until 2024 due to existing contracts with companies that sell the products.
Research suggests that to meet the EU target of net zero emissions by 2050, meat consumption must be reduced to 24kg per person per year, compared with the current average of 82kg, or 75.8kg in the Netherlands, which is the EU’s biggest meat exporter.