Oxford University students vote for meat-free campus and accuse dons of ‘lack of leadership’ on climate

Oxford University students have voted for a meat-free campus after they accused dons of showing a “lack of leadership” on climate change.

The university is now under pressure after the Student Union opted to ban beef and lamb from all of its catering services by a two-thirds majority at a council meeting.

While Oxford is under no obligation to introduce the ban at its eateries, campaigning representatives will now lobby both the university and individual colleges in an attempt to effect change.

It comes after Goldsmiths, University of London banned its cafes from selling beef last summer over climate concerns, prompting the University of Cambridge to follow suit, while other institutions including Bristol have introduced ‘meat-free Mondays’.

The Oxford motion, which was proposed by Vihan Jain, a student at the university’s Worcester College, aims to force “meat reduction and removal” on campus as students claim the university has not taken the issue of climate change seriously enough.

The motion read: ‘As the UK’s premier university, the nation looks to Oxford for leadership, but Oxford has shown a lack of leadership in addressing climate change,” the motion read.

“The banning of beef and lamb at university-catered events and outlets is a feasible and effective strategy to help the university meet its revised 2030 goal.”

It said beef and lamb products are “not necessary for human survival” and should be replaced by “fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes”.

“We aim to lobby the University to completely stop selling beef and lamb on their menus,” Mr Jain told the meeting. “People can still eat what they want, colleges can be able to serve what they want to.”

The ban was proposed in line with the Oxford Climate Plan, a joint venture between its central university and the collegiate to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 in addition to expanding education about environmental issues.

Around half of the 144 universities in the UK have now introduced dedicated events aimed at non-meat eaters or students with other dietary needs, an investigation by the PA news agency revealed earlier this year.

A spokesman for the University of Oxford said: "The University is currently consulting on a draft sustainability strategy which will be approved next year and includes proposals to reduce the carbon and ecological impact of the food it supplies. These policies will be further developed in the light of the consultation response."

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