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Where's the beef?: Vegan diet to be 'imposed' on Warwick University students after vote banning meat and dairy products
28 November 2023, 16:56 | Updated: 28 November 2023, 18:40
Tens of thousands of students from one of Britain's top Russell Group universities will now be served vegan food after activists won a vote to ban all meat and dairy products.
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Students at the University of Warwick supported a motion to ensure union-run catering outlets go vegan, three of which will be required to adopt the plant-based approach by 2027.
However, the decision, pushed through by campaign group Plant-Based Universities has sparked 'beef' as only around 2.7 per cent of the 28,600 students voted in favour.
Specifically, 774 students voted for a plant-based campus, with 516 students voting against it.
Only 52 per cent of the 1,472 students who voted wanted the change.
Concerning the turnout, Nathan McGovern the Plant-Based Universities Co-Founder told LBC: "Warwick's move towards genuinely sustainable Students' Union catering is a huge step forward, joining several other universities and local councils across the UK in doing so.
"We always encourage as many students as possible to use their votes and make their voices heard on campus, often finding larger-than-usual turnouts.
"In the case of Warwick the number of 'yes' votes more than doubled when compared to a similar 2022 motion.
"It is obvious this shift is part of a growing movement of people across all walks of life seeing the need to transition to a just and sustainable plant-based food system.
"For example, Denmark and South Korea have recently announced plant-based roadmaps and Prince William's Earthshot Prize just announced the recruitment of plant-based experts to its panel."
Vivek Venkatram, Plant-Based Universities Warwick Campaigner and President of the institution's Vegetarian and Vegan Society celebrated the vote and said: "We want this change to benefit everyone".
Although groups have hit back at the decision, with the Countryside Alliance questioning whether the vote was "made with the interests of the wider student population in mind".
They condemned how such a "small cohort" could make such a major change.
"Vegan campaigners are welcome to present their arguments in favour of plant-based diets, but should not impose a diet in university-affiliated buildings,' said Alliance spokeswoman Sabina Roberts.
Warwick's students' union in the eighth in the UK to vote to ban meat and dairy as part of an ongoing campaign for more sustainable catering in higher education.
The union will now serve 50 per cent plant-based catering by the next academic year and students also hope to include externally-run outlets on the convery campus.
In November 2022, the University of Stirling's student union voted to become vegan and was the first in the UK to back the decision.
The University of Edinburgh were also invited to vote on the decision to ban meat - 48 per cent of the 6,000 students that voted voted no.
Last week, students at Cardiff University voted to reject a motion that would see their catering outlets go 100 per cent plant-based in the 2026-27 academic year.