By Tom Saunders
A petition has been submitted to the Students’ Union which would remove red meat options from colleges and catering outlets and replace them with plant-based alternatives.
The idea has already far exceeded 25 likes, the threshold it needs to pass in order for the idea to be considered. When it closes, the idea’s creator is to meet with the SU to talk about the next steps to implement the change.
The petition was submitted by Sunita Ramani, the president of the Vegetarian and Vegan Society. It follows the lead of Goldsmiths, University of London, and Cambridge University which have both removed beef products from their universities due to concerns about the climate footprint.
The idea has already far exceeded 25 likes
The petition arose out of the two-hour climate strike co-organisedby the Environmental Community of Durham University (ECO DU) and Durham University Amnesty International.
DU Amnesty International explained that: “The climate strike we led had 20 organisations collaborating within it, and we drew up 22 demands to be made to the University. The Vegan Society did suggest including a beef ban, but it was decided that this was not a universal aim of every group participating in the strike, so it was not included in the 22 demands we made to the University.”
Ramani made a speech at the rally publicising their additional goal to ban beef from University catering services. As a result of the speech she then launched the petition on the Students’ Union website and it is currently supers by over 85% of people, with over 400 having voted.
Amnesty also stated that: “Whilst Amnesty recognises the high environmental cost of beef, it is not a specific goal of our group to ban it, although we support the vegan society’s right to campaign on this issue.”
The ban has had success in other universities already and since Cambridge University removed beef and lamb from their catering menus, they have reported a 10.5% reduction in carbon emissions across the catering service.
While Amnesty recognises the high environmental cost of beef, it is not a specific goal of our group to ban itDU Amnesty International
There was a 33% reduction in carbon emissions per kilogram of food purchased, and a 28% reduction in land use per kilogram of food purchased.
In a statement to Palatinate,Miss Ramani explained that: “The University has a duty to the planet which involves commitments such as removing red meat from its catering services – we see this as a relatively simple change to make, and if Cambridge University could do it there’s no reason for Durham not to do the same.”
The petition has caused significant controversy on campus and not everyone agrees with the idea of a red meat ban.
In reaction to the petition one student, who is the son of a farmer, said: “Banning red meat on campus would deprive students of two of the fundamental things one goes to university to learn: the ability to critically review evidence and make judgements upon one’s findings, as well as to be responsible for one’s decisions and actions.
“Furthermore, collective responsibility is about individuals taking responsibility for their own decisions, rather than others making them for them.”
The petition ended on Tuesday and it appears it will be discussed with the SU in due course.
Jess Dunning, SU Opportunities Officer, told Palatinate: “The climate crisis is a global problem, and a top priority for many students in Durham. It’s great to see student groups campaigning on such huge issues and thinking about the ways we, as a community, can have an impact on a worldwide problem.
A motion was recently passed by student representatives at Assembly declaring a climate crisis. One of the motion’s recommended actions is that we work to reduce the amount of beef sold on university premises by 50%. We have also received a ‘Raise Your Voice’ submission from a group of students wanting to get beef banned across the University. I am really excited to work towards the goal set by Assembly and support students with any ideas they have for their own campaign.”
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay
which would remove red meat options from colleges and catering outlets and replace the