Beef ban
Was it a bad move to ban the sale of beef on campus grounds? Source: Shutterstock

A growing number of universities in the UK are banning beef at its campus eateries in an attempt to fight climate change.

Last year, both the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Goldsmiths, University of London decided to ban all beef products.

The University of Edinburgh has also followed suit. 

However, the move has proven to be premature for some institutions, with students up in arms that the decision to ban the sale of beef on campus was made without their consultation.

The ban has also angered farmers and religious groups over the restriction on what students can eat on campus. 

Universities face backlash over beef ban  

Research notes that “the production of beef is around 10 times more damaging to the environment than any other form of livestock” as cows produce more methane and need more land and water than other livestock.

As such, banning the sale of beef is seen as an eco-friendly option.

Despite that, things did not go smoothly when the University of Edinburgh’s student council meeting last month passed a motion to ban the sale of beef on campus. 

Those who dissented the motion claimed not to have been given the opportunity to counter-argue. 

The Edinburgh Evening News reported that a contingent of young farmers from Scotland’s Rural College showed up to argue the opposing side, but were told the hall was too full and given the boot.

They added that 17 Scottish Rural College students, based at Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, turned up to argue most meat on offer at the university is Scottish – and to back the nation’s beef industry.

Scottish Rural College students study at Kings Buildings and get degrees awarded through the university, but they are not enrolled directly and were denied a vote on the motion.

Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies student Sarah Whitelaw was quoted saying: “Removing beef products from the university menu will help the aim of the motion in no way at all.”

“British farming is one of the most sustainable industries we boast as a country – the majority of our landscape and countryside could simply not be utilised for anything other than livestock.

“The ‘for’ argument was weak and misinformed but sadly we didn’t get the opportunity to counter-argue,” she said.

Meanwhile, the UEA student union had to reverse its decision to take meat off its menu less than a month after the motion was passed.

This came after students argued that it was “wrong and undemocratic” to have made the decision without consulting the rest of the university or holding a referendum. 

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