In late May, Swiss media reported that the Geneva chapter of the Green Party had attempted to ban its own representatives and staff from eating meat or drinking alcohol while acting in an official capacity.
The measures were put to a vote. While the alcohol ban failed by a large majority, the ban on eating meat was upheld,
Switzerland’s French-language Le Temps newspaper ran the headline ‘Last entrecôte for Green politicians’, while German-language tabloid Blick published an article with the title ‘Geneva Greens fight about the sausage’.
While some Green politicians have spoken out publicly in favour of the move – Young Greens representative Sophie Desbiolles said the ban “was not radical, it makes sense” – others were unhappy about the negative publicity the ban had bought the party.
Geneva Councilor Lisa Mazzone said that while a discussion about the environmental impact of meat was always welcome, “we shouldn’t turn it into a ban”.
“Every time the candidates are at an event, they would be forced to address this promise of waiver and make a political statement. That can be counterproductive”.
Ban to be reconsidered
At a federal level, the Greens said they would not be extending the ban, saying it was better for individuals to make their own choices.
Green President Balthasar Glättli said party events tend to be vegetarian, but not due to hard and fast rules.
“Personally, I believe that the choice of menu is also a matter of personal responsibility for Green MPs” Glättli told Swiss media, saying he usually but not always chooses vegetarian food.
Federal colleague Meret Schneider, who is a vegan, said such bans led to unwelcome publicity for the party which meant they were less able to carry out their actual duties.
“It would be like banning Green MPs from flying overseas or driving.”
“That stirs up resentment and leads to negative reactions.”
The Geneva Greens have since announced that the ban would be reconsidered, with another vote to be held on June 11th.