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Staffordshire Moorlands becomes latest to support farmers in defiance of plant-based movement

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has become the latest local authority to vote in support of a Countryside Alliance campaign  to proactively support local farmers and block councils from banning meat and dairy.

On Wednesday, 28 February, councillors unanimously passed a motion introduced by Conservative Councillor Joe Porter, ensuring that all catering at council-organised events is sourced from local suppliers, specifically including meat and dairy options, alongside fruit and vegetables. 


The motion also commits the council to encouraging local residents to shop locally, where possible, taking advantage of home-grown, affordable, and nutritious produce, with an aim of reducing food miles to plates.


Following a debate in the council chamber, an amendment was introduced to commit the council to protecting agricultural land in the Local Plan when it is reviewed in the next year. Both the motion and the amendment passed with all councillors voting in favour.

The move comes after a string of other councils voted to ban meat and dairy items on council-catered menus elsewhere. However, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is the eighth in a matter of months to defy the vegan trend, after Wiltshire Council voted to keep meat and dairy following a vote last week.

It comes amid a series of protests and mass meetings in Wales and Scotland in response to growing concerns about several areas of agricultural and rural policy.

Speaking at the Staffordshire meeting, Conservative Councillor Joe Porter, who introduced the motion, said British farmers 'have had a really tough time'.

"I felt it was important to bring this issue to this chamber," he said, "Staffordshire is vital for British agriculture - the sector contributes £644m to the West Midlands economy.”

Cllr Philip Barks (Labour), who seconded the motion, added:

“Farmers are an important part of the Staffordshire Moorlands economy and farmers themselves are key environmental players.

“I’m confident this administration will do what it has to to support our rural community and I’m pleased to hear positive dialogue has taken place.”

Speaking after the vote, Councillor Porter said he was “thrilled” to see the motion pass.

He said:

“Thank you to all my Staffordshire Moorlands District Council colleagues for unanimously supporting my motion to back British farming at Full Council. We are on the side of our local farmers and food producers, who care for the environment, act as stewards for the countryside, and restore nature, all while producing high quality food.”

Sabina Roberts, External Affairs Officer for the Countryside Alliance, said:

“This is a fantastic result, and it is great to see Staffordshire Moorlands recognise the often-unacknowledged work that farmers do to both provide us with quality produce and protect our countryside. It is more important than ever for farmers to be a part of the conversation about our climate future – and supporting local, sustainable produce is vital within that effort.”

In 2021, Oxfordshire County Council sparked outrage among farmers, including Jeremy Clarkson, when it passed a motion submitted by a Green party councillor, to ban meat and dairy at its events. At the time, the council justified the policy by saying it was ‘in the interest of the health of our planet and the health of our people’. The controversial policy was backed by Animal Rising - an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion. The council also sponsored a taxpayer-funded website, urging people to adopt a plant-based diet to help “slow climate change, rein in habitat loss, and regenerate the health of our planet”.

Three councils, Edinburgh City Council, Norwich City Council, and Haywards Heath Town Council in Sussex have also signed up to the ‘Plant-Based Treaty’, which calls for an end to the construction of any future livestock farm and pushes plant-based food in schools and hospitals. It also includes a pledge to promote vegan food over animal products.

Enfield Borough Council also removed meat from the menu of its catering service in 2020, while Cambridge City Council will transition to fully plant-based catering for council meetings by 2026.

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