BREAKING: First United Kingdom University Bans Meat—A Scottish university will become the first in the UK to have a 100 per cent vegan students’ union after students voted for all outlets to drop meat and dairy products by 2025, as campaigners condemn the decision as an ‘attack on freedom of choice’.
In a move seen as a snub to farmers, the University of Stirling’s student union voted last week to transition to ‘100 per cent plant-based catering’ within three years — with 50 per cent of the options being vegan by the 2023-24 academic year.
The Plant Based Universities campaign, which is supported by Animal Rebellion, a splinter group of Extinction Rebellion, welcomed the result as has Guardian columnist George Monbiot and BBC presenter Chris Packham.
It is the first British students’ union to approve a ban on meat, fish and dairy products in its outlets, with students at the University of Edinburgh rejecting a similar proposal in a campus-wide referendum in 2020.
Of the 6,000 votes cast in Edinburgh, 58 per cent said no to a proposal to impose campus-wide veganism in cafés and restaurants.
Rural campaigners hope that the University of Stirling will reject the motion, or consider asking its students to vote in a campus-wide poll, similar to the one carried out in Edinburgh.
The Countryside Alliance believe the students’ union should opt for locally sourced meat and dairy with low airmiles, rather than implement an ‘illogical’, all-out ban.
Mo Metcalf-Fisher, a spokesman for the organisation said: ‘Obviously this is an attack on freedom of choice imposed by a tiny number of students on the wider student body, but it is also illogical.
‘Stirling’s students’ union would be much better off sourcing sustainable local meat and dairy produce from Scottish farmers instead.
‘How can an avocado flown in from South America have eco-superiority over a piece of grass fed beef from a local farm?
‘Stirling University should demonstrate their support for Scottish farmers by ensuring they continue to supply meat and dairy, irrespective of what its students’ union decide to do’.
It comes as universities are being told to ‘decolonise’ courses from computing to classics by the degrees watchdog.
For the first time, the Quality Assurance Agency, which checks on course standards, has incorporated critical race theory into its recommendations.
It wants a wide range of courses – including sciences and maths – to teach about colonialism including ‘white supremacy’.
It is expected many tutors will take on board the advice, although compliance is technically voluntary, Mail Plus reported.
In one example, the QAA says computing courses should address how ‘hierarchies of colonial value’ are ‘reinforced’ in the field.
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign in June 2020 in Oxford
Meanwhile in geography, it says courses should acknowledge ‘racism, classism, ableism, homophobia and patriarchy’.
Last night, critics said the advice was ‘anti-white and anti-Western’ and accused the QAA of ordering courses to ‘go woke’.
It comes after a Daily Mail investigation found many universities are already ‘decolonising’ science and vocational subjects following pressure from activists.
A post on the the University of Stirling’s SU website confirmed that the motion to move to 100 per cent plant-based food by 2025 had passed, which will impact its three eateries. The University’s 10 food outlets will not be impacted by the change.
Around 100 attendees took part in the meeting, representing the Scottish university’s 17,000 student population.
In documents on the SU website dated November 2, the motion states: ‘A transition to plant-based food is a necessary step in the development of a more sustainable food system, and to reduce the climatic effect on the planet.
‘That this transition can be achieved without detriment to any particular person(s).
‘That this transition should aim to end in an entirely plant-based food system within Stirling Students Union.’
It also noted: ‘Globally the largest proportion of emissions from food production comes from animal agriculture (57 per cent), with the emissions worldwide exceeding the entire emissions of the United States… the production of plant-based foods contributes to only 29 per cent of emissions.’
The decision was welcomed by environmental writer Mr Monbiot, who said: ‘It’s fantastic to see the next generation taking control of their future and putting humans, nonhuman animals and the planet first.
‘The Plant-Based Universities campaigners at The University Of Stirling are leading the way in tackling the climate crisis and creating a sustainable food system.’
BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham said it was a ‘good’ move.
The presenter wrote on Twitter: ‘Young people doing it for themselves – this is good from @RebelsAnimal and @plantbasedunis @StirUni – posted on Instagram @veganuary @vivacampaigns.’
A spokesperson for Animal Rebellion said: ‘Students at The University Of Stirling have voted to embrace a completely plant-based menu to address the climate and ecological emergencies.
‘The decision represents the first of its kind in the UK, following similar commitments by universities in Germany.’
Stirling student Imogen Robertson, 21, who campaigned for the fully vegan menu, said: ‘This vote is a clear sign that young people are willing to take decisive action on the climate and ecological emergencies.
‘We will be working with catering staff to ensure this vote is implemented in a way that provides cheap, delicious, planet-saving options throughout our Student’s Union.
‘We are delighted that our fellow students have decided to follow the scientific advice from world-leading academics and step into a brighter future.
‘We hope this sparks a wave of bold action across UK universities to commit to just and sustainable plant-based catering.’
In a joint statement on Instagram, the Plant Based Universities campaign and Animal Rebellion called the vote an ‘unprecedented step towards climate justice’.
‘Stirling’s student union has listened to the scientific advice from world-leading academics, and are setting a gold-standard in environmental policy for other universities to follow,’ they wrote.
A spokesperson for the University of Stirling Students’ Union told MailOnline: ‘It was noted at the meeting that as the motion would have a commercial implication for the charity, this would require further scrutiny to establish how the Union could move towards supporting the proposal.
‘We are confident that given the current policy we will be able to work positively with the motion’s direction as directed by our members.’