Oxford students vote to BAN beef and lamb from campus canteens

Oxford students vote to BAN beef and lamb from campus canteens

Oxford University students vote to BAN beef and lamb from campus canteens as it becomes latest institution to remove meat from menus in bid to combat climate change

  • Student Union passed motion by a two-thirds majority at weekly student council
  • Executives will now lobby the university to bring in the ban at campus eateries
  • Union cannot change policy but exists to represent students in decision making 

Oxford University students have voted to ban beef and lamb at campus canteens.

The Oxford Student Union passed a motion by a two-thirds majority at the weekly student council.

Union executives will now lobby bosses to bring in the meat ban at eateries on campus, such as in libraries and other university buildings.

The university colleges, where students live and have tutorials, would have to each individually decide on whether to introduce a similar ban.

While it cannot change university policy, the influential Union – which has 22,000 members – exists to represent students in university decision making.

It would be mirroring its rival Cambridge University – which has already banned beef from university canteens.

Oxford University students have voted to ban beef and lamb at campus canteens, pictured

Union executives will now lobby the university to bring in the meat ban at eateries on campus


The university’s catering service introduced plant-based replacements for beef across its 14 outlets and 1,500 annual events in October 2016. 


Last September the university stopped selling beef products in its cafes and shops, while an additional 10p levy was added to the sale of bottled water and disposable plastic cups to discourage their use. 


Students voted to ban beef at the institution in order to save the planet in February, while a group of agricultural students were told to leave a meeting debating the decision to remove the meat from menus at its eateries.

London School of Economics 

The proposal to ban the meat in February was supported by 243 people. Some 170 voted against the proposal while 47 abstained – providing a 52.8 per cent majority for the ban. 

University of East Anglia

A vote was taken to ban beef from its bars and shops 12 months ago, but was subsequently overturned in a second vote just weeks later. 

The Oxford motion says the Union should ‘request fortnightly meetings with the university authorities to advocate for the adoption of a university policy surrounding meat reduction and removal.’

It adds this should be ‘especially in respect of beef and lamb (and to campaign for) the university to issue advice to faculties, departments, and colleges on how they may follow suit in removing beef and lamb’.

The students’ reasoning for the ban is because of the impact of meat on climate emissions.

The motion said: ‘As the UK’s premier university, the nation looks to Oxford for leadership, but Oxford has shown a lack of leadership in addressing climate change.

‘The banning of beef and lamb at university-catered events and outlets is a feasible and effective strategy to help the university meet its revised 2030 goal.

‘A change at the university level will open the gates for similar change at the college level.

‘The university has a commitment to anti-racism, and this requires urgent action to minimise greenhouse emissions.’

The council heard that greenhouse gas emissions disproportionately affect developing countries.

It was voted through with a two-thirds majority.

The motion does not affect colleges which wish to provide beef and lamb

Ben Farmer, from the Oxford Students’ Union, said: ‘I welcome the mandate to engage the university on this important issue.

‘It is important to recognise that food-based changes may not be possible for every student or staff member at the university.

‘Further, food-based changes are just one part of changes we’d like to see the university make to tackle the climate crisis.’

Goldsmiths University, in South-East London, has also banned beef from its campus.

Votes were also made in favour of such a decision at Edinburgh, London School of Economics and the University of East Anglia, though it was overturned at the latter following a revolt. 

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