Meat will no longer be on the table at meetings organised by Oxford City Council.
It should be no surprise the local authority is going plant-based after Oxfordshire County Council was the first in the country to adopt the policy in December 2021 to tackle climate change.
At the time, there was a backlash, and even Jeremy Clarkson chimed in, branding the move ‘utter, utter madness’.
In a similar fashion, farmers reacted with anger after city councillors unanimously banned meat from all internal events.
Matthew Alden, the managing director of the 230-year-old Alden Butchers, called the decision a ‘kneejerk reaction’, adding it was ‘very easy to have a negative view about meat’.
He said: ‘I am not against veganism but this will not suit everybody. Meat leads to the employment of a huge amount of people up and down the country.
‘As butchers we do a lot for conservation.’
The butcher, who employs 100 workers, insisted that whether people chose to eat meat was about ‘free choice’.
If farming is done right it can ‘help the diversity of the fields and nature’, Mr Alden argued.
He added that meat was part of Britain’s ‘culture and countryside’, questioning if it was better to eat fresh and regional meat than exotic fruit.
Steven Wright, who works at J.E.Pill Butchers, echoed his sentiment and said the council’s attitude to cutting out meat was going to mean ‘thousands are going to lose their jobs including us lot as well’.
A farmer, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of a backlash, accused the council of not ‘supporting local farmers or people’s free choice’.
After Oxfordshire County Council went vegan more than a year ago, authorities in Cambridge, Exeter and Norwich have also followed suit.
Putting forward the case for the motion on Monday, Paula Dunne said: ‘In the UK we eat twice as much meat and dairy as the global average.
‘This is not sustainable on a finite planet, as there is not enough land in the world to meet this demand.
‘The rate at which we are eating meat and dairy is the leading cause of modern species extinctions.’
During the meeting, councillor Anna Railton said it was the council’s responsibility to ‘encourage our residents to look at their own diets and reduce their meat and dairy consumption’.
She added: ‘We do not need a handful of people like ourselves being vegan, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’
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