“As the UK’s premier university, the nation looks to Oxford for leadership, but Oxford has shown a lack of leadership in addressing climate change.”
Oxford University students have voted to get beef and lamb banned from campus canteens in order to tackle the climate crisis.
The motion, which is part of the University’s sustainability efforts to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 has been written by Vihan Jain, Daniel Grimmer, and Agatha Edevane.
While 13 abstained from voting, the 22,000 member Union passed the motion by a two-thirds majority in the weekly student council with 31 votes for and nine against.
The move follows in the footsteps of the London School of Economics Students’ Union, which passed a similar motion to “ban beef” from campus earlier this year.
Union representatives will now lobby authorities to introduce the ban at other eateries on campus including libraries and other university buildings.
‘Lack of leadership in addressing climate change’
The motion reads: “As the UK’s premier university, the nation looks to Oxford for leadership, but Oxford has shown a lack of leadership in addressing climate change.
“The banning of beef and lamb at university-catered events and outlets is a feasible and effective strategy to help the university meet its revised 2030 goal.
“A change at the university level will open the gates for similar change at the college level.
“The university has a commitment to anti-racism, and this requires urgent action to minimise greenhouse emissions.”
While the Union cannot change University policy, the motion says the Union should request ‘fortnightly meetings with the university authorities to advocate for the adoption of a university policy surrounding meat reduction and removal’.
The motion excludes college butteries since they have their own food policies and also does not affect colleges which wish to provide beef and lamb.
‘Just one part of changes’
Oxford SU Vice President Charities and Communities, Ben Farmer, told Cherwall: “I welcome the mandate to engage the University on this important issue.
“However, it is important to recognise that food-based changes may not be possible for every student or staff member at the University.
“Further, food-based changes are just one part of changes we’d like to see the University make to tackle the Climate Crisis.
“We look forward to updating students at future Student Councils regarding the progress of this motion.”
Andrew Balmford, Cambridge University Professor of Conservation Science, said: “The University’s catering managers have, in a very short time, dramatically reduced the environmental footprint of their operation by removing ruminant meat from its menus, lowering food waste and eliminating unsustainably harvested fish– while simultaneously increasing sales and profit.
“It is hard to imagine any other interventions that could yield such dramatic benefits in so short a span of time.”
Joe Leam, the president of Goldsmiths’ union, said: “Banning beef is a bold move.
“The aim of being carbon neutral by 2025 is a great aim… There is always more that can be done – but I think it’s a great start and other institutions should learn from this move.”
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