In response to the significant impact of the meat industry on climate change, the Dutch city of Haarlem has become the first to ban meat advertisements. The idea was originally proposed by green party GroenLinks – and, following the addition of meat into a list of products that contribute to the climate crisis, the ban will now go into effect in 2024.
“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,” said Ziggy Klazes, councilor for GroenLinks, in a statement to radio station Haarlem105 and reported by the Guardian.
The ban is not designed to tell people what and what not to eat, but instead to prevent the general advertising of meat products in public places. Haarlem remains unsure of whether sustainably-sourced meat will be included in the ban at this time.
Predictably, the move has prompted large criticism from more conservative figures, stating that the ban hinders free speech, the large meat industry, and is generally exacting too much power over residents.
GroenLinks, however, believes such a move to be perfectly valid, with current estimates suggesting around 14.5 percent of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions originate from the meat industry. The ban won’t stop there, either – it will also include fossil fuels and all transport that relies on them, including holiday flights and cars.
Sander van den Raadt, leader of the Trots Haarlem group, has some differing opinions, and is now organizing their own campaign called "Proud of Meat". Raadt and the opposition party will strongly object to the advertising ban, and states the ban is at odds with the current "campaign that you can be yourself in Haarlem and love whoever you want" – quite the mental gymnastics there.