After Oxfordshire County Council went vegan more than a year ago, Oxford County Council followed suit amid fierce opposition.
Oxford County Council’s vote to only serve plant-based foods at internal councillor events has sparked furious backlash from campaign groups, opposition councillors, and farmers.
Members of the Council in a meeting held on 20 March unanimously voted in favour of banning meat
Labour Party councillor Paula Dunne proposed the motion on the grounds that excessive meat and dairy consumption “was the leading cause of modern species extinction.”
“In the UK, we eat twice as much meat and dairy as the global average, which is not sustainable on a finite planet, as there is not enough land in the world to meet this demand,” she said.
Councillor Anna Railton added: “We don’t need a handful of people like ourselves being vegan, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
Oxford City’s decision follows in the footsteps of Oxfordshire County Council, which became the first council to go vegan more than a year ago. Other authorities in Cambridge, Exeter, and Norwich have also come in to adopt parts of the Plant-Based Councils campaign’s demands.
The council’s move sparked backlash: Liam Walker, an Oxfordshire Conservative councillor, told The Times: “The idea that some councillors eating vegan meals a few times a year is suddenly going to help towards climate change is madness”.
Mo Metcalf-Fisher, Countryside Alliance spokesperson, said the vote was “an attack on freedom of choice” and a ‘snub’ to local farmers.
“Livestock farmers across Oxfordshire work incredibly hard to maintain and enhance the beautiful countryside surrounding Oxford. Without them, that countryside risks becoming a wasteland,” he said.
“Anti-farming policies such as this will only alienate the voters they need to win over.”
Butchers accused the council of a ‘kneejerk reaction’. Matthew Alden, the managing director of the 230-year-old Alden Butchers, said it was “very easy to have a negative view about meat.”
He continued: “I’m not against veganism, but this won’t suit everybody.
“Meat leads to the employment of a huge amount of people up and down the country. As butchers, we do a lot for conservation.”
According to him, eating meat is a personal choice. He added that if farming is done correctly, it can benefit the environment by enhancing the diversity of crops and contributing to the preservation of nature. According to him, eating meat is a personal choice. He added that if farming is done correctly, it can benefit the environment by enhancing the diversity of crops and contributing to the preservation of nature.
He highlighted that meat was part of Britain’s “culture and countryside” and asked “whether it was better to eat fresh and regional meat than fruit which comes from halfway across the world
Another farmer, who chose to remain anonymous, accused the council of not “supporting local farmers or people’s free choice.”
“Everywhere you go, you must have a vegetarian option in menus, so what about the people who want to eat meat. Farmers are doing all they can for the environment.”
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