The Dutch city of Haarlem, west of Amsterdam, has become the first city in the world that will ban meat adverts from public spaces. This ban, which will be enacted in 2024, was motivated by trying to reduce activities that substantially contribute to the current climate crisis. In addition to meat products, the advertising ban will also cover holiday flights, fossil fuels, and cars that run on fossil fuels. Adverts for all these products and services will not be allowed on Haarlem’s buses, shelters and screens in public spaces, but will be still allowed in private spaces. Although we would have hoped that bans of this kind would have been motivated by the ethics of not wanting to harm animals, the motivation of reversing the climate crisis may have to do for now.

Research from Greenpeace has suggested that meat consumption must be reduced to 24kg per person per year to meet the EU target of net zero emissions by 2050. The average for the Netherlands is 75.8kg, so hopefully, this advert ban may inspire other Dutch municipalities to do the same to help to achieve this target. 

Ziggy Klazes, a councillor from the GroenLinks party who drafted the motion banning meat advertising, 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 be very nice.” Last year Amsterdam City Council revealed plans to persuade its citizens to become 60% plant-based by 2040. Perhaps they should implement this ban too, not only covering meat but also dairy products.  

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.