Vegetarian’s have been ordered by local councillors to serve meat in order to be fair to meat eaters who attend an annual fair trade picnic in a Belgian city.
The move has stunned organisers of the popular annual event in the city of Diksmuide, in the north-western Belgian province of West Flanders, who say they may even have to cancel as they do not have the facilities to hygienically store meat, which is more tightly controlled than fruit and veg.
The Fair Trade Diksmuide group organises the event to put a focus on a fair deal for fair trade farmers often in third world countries.
But the liberals from the local Idee Diksmuide party say that there are also local farmers that need support and should benefit from fair trade promotion. They also say that the event needs to offer freedom of choice, and provide alternatives for meat eaters who want to attend.
CD&V Mayor Lies Laridon said: “We want people to have the choice to eat meat or not at the picnic. People who want to attend should not be forced to eat only vegetarian food.”
The party recently formed a coalition with the Christian-Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party which edged out the social democrats, and then introduced the meat too rule for the popular local event now entering its sixth year.
Rik Maekelberg, chairman of Fair Trade Diksmuide, said: “Until last year we had a socialist alderman who was very favourable to us, but with the Christian-Democrats that is clearly different.”
He added: “We are asking ourselves if we should continue with it.”