A Scottish university will become the first in the UK to have a 100 per cent vegan students’ union after students voted for all outlets to drop meat and dairy products by 2025, as campaigners condemn the decision as an ‘attack on freedom of choice’.
In a move seen as a snub to farmers, the University of Stirling’s student union voted last week to transition to ‘100 per cent plant-based catering’ within three years — with 50 per cent of the options being vegan by the 2023-24 academic year.
The Plant Based Universities campaign, which is supported by Animal Rebellion, a splinter group of Extinction Rebellion, welcomed the result as has Guardian columnist George Monbiot and BBC presenter Chris Packham.
It is the first British students’ union to approve a ban on meat, fish and dairy products in its outlets, with students at the University of Edinburgh rejecting a similar proposal in a campus-wide referendum in 2020.
Of the 6,000 votes cast in Edinburgh, 58 per cent said no to a proposal to impose campus-wide veganism in cafés and restaurants.
Rural campaigners hope that the University of Stirling will reject the motion, or consider asking its students to vote in a campus-wide poll, similar to the one carried out in Edinburgh.
The Countryside Alliance believe the students’ union should opt for locally sourced meat and dairy with low airmiles, rather than implement an ‘illogical’, all-out ban.
Mo Metcalf-Fisher, a spokesman for the organisation said: ‘Obviously this is an attack on freedom of choice imposed by a tiny number of students on the wider student body, but it is also illogical.