In what will come as a surprise to many, an English council goes vegan as councillors vote to stop serving meat at events. The decision taken earlier this week by the Oxfordshire County Council was taken due to greenhouse gas and global warming concerns.
The motion, which was proposed by Councillor Ian Middleton, prompted a 90 minute debate amongst the ruling Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Party alliance. That debate led to a rule was banning meat and dairy products from being served at official events.
The motion agreed reads: “This council recognises that global meat and dairy production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation and that reducing consumption of these foods is a key part of tackling climate change.”
It continues: “The government’s independent Climate Change Committee, advises that meat consumption should be reduced by a fifth, and that public bodies should promote plant-based foods. That and the avoidance of food waste are powerful ways to cut carbon emissions.”
“Furthermore, in the UK, only 18 per cent of children consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and most young people’s diets lack fibre. Providing appealing plant-based school meals along with education on healthy, climate-positive food choices are excellent ways to address these problems.”
As to be expected not all councillors are in agreement with the motion. Opposition Conservative Councillor David Bartholomew told The Times newspaper: “The Conservative opposition believes that veganism is a choice that should be respected. But it is not something that should be rammed down the throats of vegetarians and meat eaters. A carrot not a stick approach should be employed.”
In the council’s response Middleton countered: “We need to get people to reduce consumption of meat. Meals are provided to council six times a year. I felt that we should be embracing the opportunity to set an example and send the message out. I’d have thought that anyone with a genuine concern about the future of the ecosphere would see that as a pretty modest sacrifice for the sake of future generations.
“I’m not suggesting that all councillors should become vegan but that on those occasions food provided by the council should be plant-based. Councillors who don’t want to eat it don’t have to eat in the council chamber.”
Whether other councils follow the example where an English council goes vegan remains to be seen with strong views on all sides of the argument.
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