Two municipalities in the Netherlands, Bloemendaal, in North Holland, and Utrecht, the fourth largest municipality in the country, have voted to ban the advertising of meat and dairy products in public spaces.
At the Municipality of Bloemendaal, a majority formed by the coalition parties D66, VVD, and PvdA recently agreed to prohibit meat and dairy advertisements on billboards, posters, and other advertising spots managed by the municipality. According to local media 105, the ban includes fossil fuels-dependent products such as combustion engine cars and airline tickets.
The municipality said in a statement that it is committed to taking the necessary actions to reduce CO2 emissions and that growing and transporting livestock feed results in deforestation and the release of greenhouse gases, thereby contributing to global warming, reported Noordhollands Dagblad.
In a similar move, at the end of October, the City Council of Utrecht voted to ban meat ads in public areas, reported local media AD. Alcoholic beverages and gambling advertisements will also be banned.
These initiatives follow the decision of the Municipality of Haarlem (also the capital of North Holland), which voted in 2022 to ban these types of advertisements starting in 2024. North Holland was also the first province to vote for an advertising ban on meat, fish, and fossil products.
Stopping subsidies for meat production
Meanwhile, the European Commission has been discussing where to allocate future agricultural subsidies. Piet Adema, the Netherlands’ Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, said at a recent EU meeting that under no circumstances the European Union should provide subsidies for meat production. He argued that subsidies should be for sustainable and healthy products, aligning with the broader European policy of promoting sustainable production and reducing meat and alcohol consumption, reported Boerderij.
The Dutch government has been trying to implement a policy to limit the nitrogen emissions caused mainly by animal agriculture, committing to halving the country’s overall emissions by 2030. In March, farmers confronted the measures with massive protests.
It is worth noting that in the Netherlands, retailers have reportedly seen declining sales of meat products for nine consecutive quarters, with a 13% drop compared to the first quarter of 2019. Higher prices and lower purchasing power are believed to be a major cause of the change. Additionally, the country is one of the most dynamic plant-based markets in Europe.
“Meat has always been a product that requires an enormous amount of raw materials. To make one kilogram of meat, you need up to ten kilograms of grain. Now, in times of scarcity, that takes its toll,” said Pablo Moleman of ProVeg Netherlands.