Farming News - Oxfordshire County Council to ban meat and will serve only plant-based food at official events

Oxfordshire County Council to ban meat and will serve only plant-based food at official events

22 Dec 2021
Frontdesk / Arable / Livestock

A motion to ban all meat and dairy from council catered events has been passed by Oxford County Council which has sparked anger this week.But the motion has been blasted by the opposition in Oxfordshire as it is an area densely populated with farms.

Green Party councillor Ian Middleton’s motion was to ensure that all Oxfordshire County Council meetings are "entirely plant-based”

The motion also called for targeted education in schools on dietary health, food growing, preparation and waste avoidance and for the county school meals service to make fully plant-based menus available to schools that want them.

Conservative councillor David Bartholomew felt the motion was "unacceptable" and says that veganism should be a choice. He proposed an amendment to the motion to change the wording to make a plant-based diet optional, but it was not accepted.

Mo Metcalf-Fisher of the Countryside Alliance told the Daily Mail that: ''Oxfordshire County Council's Liberal Democrat and Green leadership would do well to actually liaise with their local farming community to see their amazing work first hand, rather than bringing in provocative, headline grabbing proposals which alienate the rural community."

''By sourcing their meat and dairy from only local producers going forward, the council would be setting an example people might want to actually get behind.''    

The motion will now be considered by the council cabinet before final implementation.

Mr Middleton said:"It's been hard work getting this motion to the council but I'm very pleased that it's finally been passed. We now join several other authorities who have passed similar motions, but I believe we're the first county council to do so."

"No one is taking away free choice, these changes will only affect those who wish to avail themselves of food provided by the council. What members do outside the council walls is their own affair.

"This was a democratic decision taken on a collective basis which simply says that the council should be promoting healthy, plant-based foods in the face of evidence about the damage being done on a global scale by intensive meat and dairy production both in terms of climate change and public health.

"We also wanted to highlight how local small scale farms in Oxfordshire were moving increasingly towards sustainable practices, encouraging a more direct local link between consumers and the food we buy."

Mr Middleton said: "These are not choices we're making for ourselves, but for future generations. This is a very minor change that sends a powerful message to the people we represent that we take tackling climate change seriously and are prepared to play our part as community leaders”.

However Mr Bartholomew said "Veganism should not be forced down people's throats" and advised the council to promote education and choice instead.

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