‘No public money for veal ads’

2 September 2009

‘No public money for veal ads’

Harry van Bommel is asking the government for an explanation regarding an advertisement in which TV personality Rob de Geus promotes the eating of veal. De Geus is well-known in the Netherlands for ‘De Smaakpolitie’ (“The Flavour Police”), a programme which investigates food-related scandals. The SP Member of Parliament wants to know why both the Ministry of Agriculture and the European Union contributed to the costs of the ad. “The EU figures prominently as a sponsor,” says Van Bommel. “Making ads is all very well, but not with taxpayers’ money.”

Harry van BommelThe EU gave the Dutch Central Organisation for the Meat Sector (COV) 2.8 million euros towards the campaign, a figure which the Ministry of Agriculture matched. The SP has in the recent past questioned the government over the millions in EU subsidies spent on promotion of flowers and chicken. “Every time a sector experiences a drop in receipts, the EU dips into our pockets to pay for advertising campaigns designed to jack up profits,” Van Bommel says. “I can see no reason why the EU should be using our money to promote the eating of veal. And don't forget that by the time the camapign to promote chicken got under way, sales had already returned to their usual levels.”

More than a third of the total EU budget of 116 billion euros goes on agricultural subsidies. The SP has long advocated a drastic reduction in this spending. “In times when we're all expected to be a bit more careful with our money, this wastefulness is hardly fitting,” notes Van Bommel. “The government must make this clear to Brussels.”

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