Getting low-quality meat off the streets: Haarlem bans meat advertising in public spaces
In a historic first, the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands has banned advertising low-quality meat in public spaces, including on buses and billboards. While the finer details of this ban are still being discussed - namely, whether or not it will also apply to more sustainably-sourced meat, such as organic - it’s set to come into effect in 2024.
For the Dutch city, this is a fantastic step towards creating a better food environment, in which high-welfare options and sustainable alternatives to low-quality meat products are encouraged… mirroring the kind of action we’d like to see taken across the EU as a whole. It’s no secret that intensive livestock systems with low animal welfare standards produce greenhouse gas emissions on a staggering scale. In order to align the European food system with the planetary boundaries we should curb animal production and consumption by 70% by 2030 to slow the effects of climate change.
Dietary change is a major piece of the puzzle
It’s critical to the future of our planet that industrial farming systems, especially those involving animals, are phased out. That’s why the concept of ‘less but better’ meat is central to the suggestions we’ve made to the European Commission for their Sustainable Food Systems Framework, and include:
- Pushing low welfare animal products out of the market, such as fast-growing broiler chickens
- Restricting advertising for animal products
- Introducing compulsory animal welfare labelling - or ‘method-of-production labelling’ - in which information about how animals have been reared throughout their lifetime is made clear
By banning the advertising of low welfare animal meat, Haarlem will support its citizens in making better choices concerning the animal products they buy: championing better farming practices while supporting a more sustainable food system.
Haarlem is first… will the EU follow?
Beyond the horrible conditions animals face and the industry’s effects on the climate, intensive livestock systems are also connected to a host of other environmental and public health crises, related to pesticides, disease, food security and resilience, antibiotics, and more.
Its impacts can no longer be ignored. Haarlem has set the mark, and now it’s time for others to meet it. Because if one town can take the spotlight off cheap meat, why not the rest of the EU, too?