A militant animal rights group has celebrated a vote by students at Stirling University which will see meat and dairy scrapped from campus food outlets.
In a move seen as a snub to Scottish farmers, a ‘majority’ of the University’s student union body voted last week to transition to ‘100 per cent plant-based catering’ by 2025, with union officials demanding that 50 per cent of the options transition even sooner, by the 2023-23 academic year.
Only around 100 attendees took part in the meeting, despite the University having a student population of around 17,000.
The Plant Based Universities campaign, which is run by Animal Rebellion, a splinter group of Extinction Rebellion, welcomed the result as has Guardian columnist, George Monbiot and BBC Presenter Chris Packham. The group seeks to target other universities across the UK.
It is thought to be the first Scottish students’ union to push ahead with a ban, with students at the University of Edinburgh rejecting a similar proposal in a campus-wide referendum in 2020. Of the 6,000 votes cast there, 58 per cent said no to a proposal to impose campus-wide veganism in cafés and restaurants, despite its union narrowly passed a ban in the first instance.
Rural campaigners hope that the University will reject the motion, or consider asking its students to vote in an inclusive, 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”.
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