Students vote to keep meat and dairy on university menus

Edinburgh University students have rejected calls for all shops and cafés on the campus to go meat and dairy free by 2027.

The motion to enforce plant-based catering only, following a similar move by Sterling University, was defeated in a vote in the student council.

See also: Anger as Edinburgh council signs ‘Plant Based Treaty’

Of 812 votes cast, just 19% were in favour.

Emily Kemp, who forwarded the motion, described the outcome as a “setback” and vowed to continue to work against the “vested interest” to reveal the “truth” about animal agriculture.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance, however, described it as “victory for common sense, freedom of choice and farming”, noting that this is the second time Edinburgh students have voted against banning meat and dairy.

A similar vote in 2020, saw 58% of the students taking part reject a plan to impose campus-wide vegetarianism in cafés and restaurants.

‘Positive for farmers’ 

Scottish Conservative shadow rural affairs secretary Rachael Hamilton said this latest rejection was “positive news” for farmers, given the huge challenges facing them around food security and food production.

“Students have made it resoundingly clear that they do not want plant-based menus imposed on them.

“It would be far better for these campaigners to support our farmers and encourage locally sourced produce to be served on campus.”

In November last year, Stirling became the first Scottish University to impose a plant-based menu.

Cambridge University is also moving in this direction, though a recent student union vote only went as far as to open talks with university administrators about a possible ban on meat and dairy.

If agreed, this would only apply to university facilities and could not be forced on individual colleges.

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