Cornish council rejects plant-based trend and pledges to back local farmers

Cornwall Council has launched a “fightback” against the anti-livestock sentiment that has been seen in several other councils across the UK, pledging its support for local farmers and the role they play in the local economy.

A motion, which was passed by councillors this week and is believed to be the first of its kind, will ensure local and seasonal produce, explicitly including meat and dairy, will feature at future council events.

See also: Fury after Oxfordshire council moves to ban meat and dairy

The council is also encouraging residents to “shop locally” and to take advantage of “home-grown, affordable, nutritious food”, irrespective of dietary preference.

Since 2021, when Oxfordshire County Council made the decision to go plant-based, several local councils have followed suit by rejecting meat and dairy products from catered events.

They include Exeter City and Edinburgh City councils, sparking outrage from farmers and local food producers who have been shunned in the process.

Dairy farmer and NFU Cornwall chairwoman Bridgette Whell said: “If you don’t support meat and dairy in Cornwall, then supporting agriculture is a moot point. There is no county farm that survives solely from arable in Cornwall.

“If you can’t support that, you would just as well forget the county farm service, forget food production in Cornwall, and forget the environment as well.

“This is a really good result for us, and shows they are supporting agriculture for the economy, for food production, and supporting the county farm service,” she said. 

Essential support

The motion in Cornwall was first proposed by Conservative councillor Nick Craker, and was passed almost unanimously at a meeting in Truro on Tuesday (23 May).

Mr Craker said: “A small minority of councils around the country, like Oxfordshire, have voted to abolish meat and dairy. I can’t begin to imagine the damage that would do to Cornwall.

“Supporting all our farmers and growers is essential for our economy here in Cornwall”, he added.

Mo Metcalf-Fisher from the Countryside Alliance called the motion a “big victory for common sense”, adding: “Buying and sourcing local, seasonal produce to cut down on mileage is the way forward, not imposing draconian and divisive bans on meat and dairy.

“This vote represents the start of a much-needed fightback against those who, through their anti-livestock farming agenda, risk turning our countryside into a moribund wasteland”.

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