Lancaster student’s union votes to remove meat and dairy

A small group of students at Lancaster University has voted to ban meat and dairy products from all campus catering outlets, in a move that will see vegan-only catering by 2027.

The vote, carried out by 18 of 19 members of the student union, will affect some 13,000 students and will see a transition to 50% plant-based catering by 2025, and 100% by 2027.

Lancaster is the 12th university to pass such a motion, joining the likes of Cambridge and Newcastle.

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

Speaking in response to the vote, a spokeswoman for the group Plant-Based Universities Lancaster said: “We are really excited that the students’ union is endorsing a shift towards plant-based catering here at Lancaster.

“This is a massive step in the right direction and fully aligns with Lancaster’s other sustainability commitments and initiatives.”

Academics at the university have expressed their support for the motion, with professor in energy and climate governance Rebecca Willis saying: “Reducing consumption of meat and dairy products is a crucial step in meeting our climate and health targets.

“I’m really pleased that Lancaster’s students are asking our university to lead the way on this vital issue.”


However, rural campaigners have branded the vote an “attack on freedom of choice”, while the Countryside Alliance has said the university is ignoring data that suggests British meat is among the most sustainable in the world.

Sabina Roberts, a spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance, said: “It seems preposterous that a minority group of students could take a decision so complex and personal – an individual’s dietary choices – and force it onto the wider student body.

“This decision absolutely should have been put to a student vote.” 

She added: “Vegan campaigners are welcome to present their arguments in favour of plant-based diets, but should not impose a diet in university-affiliated buildings. Students should take on their democratic duty and consider placing forward a counter-motion that keeps meat on the menu.”

At other universities across the country, such as Bristol, East Anglia and Edinburgh, students have strongly opposed motions to ban meat and dairy products from campus catering outlets.

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