Our woke universities’ ridiculous war on meat



Wanting to slash the carbon footprint is laudable. However, the recent war on meat on UK campuses- sparked at first by Cambridge University and most recently, Goldsmiths University in London, is entirely the wrong approach and sets a dangerous precedent for others to follow.

Banning beef and lamb, both sustainable products, is simplistic and short sighted. Readers of this blog will immediately spot the two glaring concerns with such a move.

Firstly, if you don’t want to eat beef or lamb- for whatever reason- you shouldn’t have to. No one would seriously argue otherwise. That’s the beauty of freedom of choice. So why is it deemed OK to restrict access to meat?

A University is a place of learning with students spending tens of thousands of pounds to hear from lecturers in their chosen academic field. They aren’t paying to have their freedom of choice stamped on by those with alternative lifestyle preferences. If someone wants to purchase lamb or beef at either campus, they should be able to do so without intimidation or hindrance.

Secondly, why single out beef and lamb? What about the imports on exotic fruits and vegetables- like quinoa or avocados, for example? How many airmiles are these products clocking up? How many miles are University staff travelling, when jetting all over the world to promote their institution abroad? If you’re going to preach to others about reducing the carbon footprint by banning meat, you better be able to account for every other area too, otherwise you will rightly find yourself accused of hypocrisy of the highest order.

Universities and businesses alike should be buying their beef and lamb from local producers, thereby reducing their carbon footprint by cutting down on the miles from farm to plate. On top of this, they’ll be supporting our hard-working UK farmers, who comply with the highest environmental & ethical standards. Oh, and they won’t be restricting choice for their students.

Sadly, it looks like both these universities are more interested in chasing quick headlines and grandstanding on social media than they are about anything else.

Those that are intent on banning beef and lamb, show little to no regard for farmers nor for the long-term effects on the British countryside. They don’t mention that as a result of their ban, beef and dairy cattle would likely be phased out, as well as sheep and lambs; destroying people’s livelihoods and fundamentally changing the way the countryside looks and operates.

The pastureland used in livestock farming creates a habitat for other wild species, especially insects, which would therefore also go. It’s incredibly dangerous for them to not explain what the long-term impact on the environment and landscape would be like if everyone was forced into following suit.

There are numerous ways to reduce the impact of your diet on the environment, including reducing the amount of food you waste, considering where your food has come from and how far it has travelled to get to your dinner table or how many chemicals have been used to produce it. Ultimately students, like everyone else, need to decide what matters to them and what changes are realistic.

Mo Metcalf-Fisher is a political commentator and spokesman for the Countryside Alliance. Follow him on twitter: @mometfisher