Skip to content

Ban on meat at town hall represents an 'attack on freedom of choice and farming'

Another council has banned meat and dairy from its events, sparking widespread criticism among campaign groups, opposition councillors and farmers.

Oxford City Council, which comprises of councillors from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Green Party, voted unanimously in favour of providing only plant-based options at all council catered events.

Labour councillor, Paula Dunne, spearheaded the motion on the grounds that overconsumption of meat and dairy "was the leading cause of modern species extinction".

In justifying her motion, Dunne claimed: " In the UK we eat twice as much meat and dairy as the global average, which is not sustainable on finite planet, as there is not enough land in the world to meet this demand".

The decision is the latest in a series of moves by some councils to 'transition' to plant-based options at events. Oxford City follows Cambridge, Norwich and Edinburgh in adopting parts of the Plant-Based Councils campaign's demands.

Mo Metcalf-Fisher, spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance said: " This vote represents an attack on freedom of choice and is a snub to our hard-working farming community. Livestock farmers across Oxfordshire work incredibly hard to maintain and enhance the beautiful countryside surrounding Oxford. Without them, that countryside risks becoming a wasteland".

Speaking to The Times, Liam Walker an Oxfordshire Conservative councillor who opposed the move, said: "The idea that some councillors eating vegan meals a few times a year is suddenly going to help towards climate change is madness".

A local farmer, who chose to remain anonymous, said that Oxford council was not "not supporting Oxford farmers or people's free choice".

Mr Metcalf-Fisher added: "It is frankly astonishing that leaders of both the Liberal Democrats and Labour Party are attempting to woo rural voters, while at the same time, urban-based councillors from both their parties vote to ban meat and dairy. Anti-farming policies such as this will only alienate the voters they need to win over".

Only last weekend, senior Liberal Democrats joined the Countryside Alliance for a panel event at its party conference in York. Tim Farron, its rural affairs spokesperson, reiterated the Liberal Democrats' ambition to be the party of the countryside.

When asked his opinion on attacks against livestock farming conducted by the 'plant-based' movement through local councils, including the Liberal Democrat-led Oxfordshire, Mr Farron said that despite having been a vegetarian for 'several decades', he supported the Alliance's position. Displacing livestock farming to other countries with worse standards than the UK's would, he agreed, do far more harm than good.

Sir Keir Starmer recently told farmers at the NFU's annual conference that rural communities are "in his DNA", in an attempt to sway the traditionally Tory voters with a promise to "govern the whole United Kingdom", not just urban centres.

Oxfordshire County Council, which voted to ban meat and dairy last year, was criticised after an FOI request found it was costing the taxpayer more to supply exclusively plant-based options at meetings of its councillors.

This story was covered by The Times and Farming UK

While you are here: Help us continue our work standing up for the rural way of life, both on the ground and in the media. Click here to join us today or make a donation.

Become a member

Join the Countryside Alliance

We are the most effective campaigning organisation in the countryside.

  • life Protect our way of life
  • news Access our latest news
  • insurance Benefit from insurance cover
  • magazine Receive our magazine