Oxfordshire council bans meat and dairy at official events opting for vegan meals only

21 December 2021, 08:20

Oxfordshire council will only serve vegan meals at future events
Oxfordshire council will only serve vegan meals at future events. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

A row has erupted between Oxfordshire councillors after a motion was passed banning meat being served at official events.

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Meat and dairy products will no longer be served at future events after the ruling Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Party alliance passed the policy, which has enraged opposition Conservative councillors.

It comes after the National Food Strategy, said that the British public's current appetite for meat is 'unsustainable' urging the Government to set a target to help reduce the nation's meat consumption by 30% within 10 years.

But the policy has since been criticised by Tory councillor David Bartholomew, who says the council area is densely populated with farms and believes the motion is discriminatory against the farmers.

Mr Bartholomew said "veganism should not be forced down people's throats" and advised the council promotes education and choice.

He added that the move was "gesture politics at its worst" stating it was "bullying" people into eating a vegan diet.

But councillor Ian Middleton, who put forward the motion, said the council "should be embracing the opportunity to set an example" to residents by backing government advise to reduce meat and dairy consumption.

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His proposal also suggested providing appealing plant-based school meals instead of meat based, to "address the problems" with children's diets.

His motion stated: "The Government's independent Climate Change Committee, advises that meat consumption should be reduced by a fifth, and that public bodies should lead the way by promoting plant-based food options. Leading by example on this, and food waste, should be fundamental components of our commitment to cutting carbon emissions.

"Furthermore, in the UK, only 18 per cent of children consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and most young people's diets lack fibre. Providing appealing plant-based school meals along with education on healthy, climate-positive food choices are excellent ways to address these problems."

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The Countryside Alliance also condemned the move saying: "Oxfordshire Council's leadership would do well to liaise with their local farming community.

"By sourcing meat and dairy locally, the council would be setting an example people might want to actually get behind, rather than this divisive nonsense."

However, animal rights activist applauded the moved with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals taking to social media to congratulate the Council and encourage others to adopt similar plans to protect the plant.