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Legal / Regulatory

May 26, 2019 - The Vegan Authority

Amsterdam: vegetarian food the new standard at city council events

Amsterdam: vegetarian food the new standard at city council events
Amsterdam, City Hall, Dam SquareFile Photo / © Photabulous!

The new initiative called  ‘Carnivore? Let us know’ (Carnivore? Geef het door) was proposed by Party for the Animals' council member Johnas van Lammeren.

This means that starting next year, all events of the Amsterdam city council will be meat-free unless attendees specifically request otherwise, the council’s executive body announced.

Initially Mr. Lammeren, had proposed serving vegan food as the new standard, but this was considered too drastic a first step.

"The executive supports the underlying goal of the proposal…but it is better to make the standard vegetarian at first rather than vegan," the head of operational management Rutger Groot Wassink and head of animal welfare Laurens Ivens in an announcement told the Telegraph.

"The initiative makes it the individual’s choice of whether to have meat or fish."

The Dutch capital's four coalition parties – which have the majority of seats – have adopted the proposal and it is set to go to a full council vote in June.

Mr. Wassink, from the council's executive committee, said: "We are turning the norms upside down. The question is no longer, 'Are you vegetarian?' but 'Do you eat meat or fish?' This government is making sustainable choices and I think that we should also make them for ourselves. This is about giving a good example."

Mr Lammeren expected backlash to this change as witnessed two years ago when the animal rights party Partij voor de Dieren, proposed to replace fifty percent of the meat-based bitterballen with vegan or vegetarian snacks. For the unitiated, bitterballen are a Dutch meat-based snack, typically deep-fried breadcrumb-covered balls have creamy meat-ragout fillings.

This new measure in Amsterdam follows that of the national Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science which adopted the vegetarian-first rule late last year.

The Netherland's National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has repeatedly called for citizens to eat less red and processed meats to improve their health and minimize environmental impact.

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