At lunchtime, on Monday the 18th of March, protesters in orange overalls, rubber gloves and dust-masks stood outside the Bill Bryson Library. The Durham University Vegetarian and Vegan Society were urging for veganism, claiming “Meat is Toxic”. The group were on the University science site, leafletting between the library and the lunchtime burger van. Their action was inspired by a recent report, which declared avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth.
Veganism has surged in interest in the last five years, and in 2017 demand for meat-free food increased by 987%.
By 1.30pm, the group had given out all their leaflets. Talia Berriman, the PETA representative for Durham, spoke to Palatinate, along with other members of the Vegetarian and Vegan Society.
“If we care about protecting the planet going vegan is the logical choice. It’s never been easier to make the change, and vegan options have never been more delicious.”
“Even if they don’t take a leaflet, I think it’s more that they’ve seen us”, commented Izzy Jacob, a member of the Vegan Society. “It’s something like eleven exposures needed before people take notice. We just want people’s brains to start recognising us, it’s just all about planting seeds”
But Matt Hill said “The reaction from Durham students to veganism in general, compared to young people nationwide, is really negative. Usually people are more receptive and open and question their lifestyles when they’re quite young. Compared to other universities, Durham’s quite behind.”
Photos taken by Sunita Ramani