‘Eat less meat’ message blocked by agriculture minister: Wakker Dier

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Agriculture minister Carola Schouten (CDA) was personally responsible for scrapping a call to eat less meat from a climate awareness campaign, animal protection organisation Wakker Dier claimed on Wednesday.

Wakker Dier already knew the agriculture and economic affairs ministries had been instrumental in blocking references to meat in the 2019 campaign ‘Iedereen doet wat’ (everybody does something’) based on documents obtained earlier under the freedom of information act.

Newly released documents show the then minister personally vetoed any negative references to eating less meat as part of a range of actions designed to help the environment, the organisation claimed.

‘I am blocking everything to do with meat, as per the wishes of the minister,’ a civil servant from the ministry wrote in an internal memo. ‘It will probably be mentioned but will not be elaborated on.’

In December 2019, a recommendation that meat could sometimes be replaced by nuts and pulses was included on the campaign website but the necessity to cut down on meat was not mentioned in any follow up on radio and television.

In a reaction to broadcaster NOS, an agriculture ministry spokesman said Schouten thought the message ‘eat less meat’ was too negative but that she denied keeping it from the campaign.

The spokesman also pointed out that unrest among farmers over measures to combat nitrogen-based pollution was already brewing at the time.

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