These UK Universities Embrace Vegan Menus to Fight Climate Change

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 29, 2024

vegan healthy sandwich

Student activists across British universities are taking proactive roles such as changing their menus to include more plant-based options, in a bid to help fight climate change and global warming.

Prompted by student-led initiatives and academics, over 80 universities in the United Kingdom have already supported entirely plant-based menus. The most recent institutions joining the move are Cambridge and Newcastle University, reports.

One of the groups advocating on the matter is Animal Rising, a UK-based animal activist movement through its Plant-Based Universities campaign. Since its launch in late 2021, this student-led initiative — active in over 70 universities — has called for all university catering facilities to shift entirely to plant-based.

As part of the campaign, Cambridge University’s Students’ Union (SU) has agreed to make its catering 100 percent plant-based. The union said it will now offer entirely plant-based options in all its “internal operations and at all events and meetings.”

The University of Cambridge implemented a significant decision back in 2016, removing beef and lamb from its menus in 14 catering facilities.

>> University of Cambridge Students Committed to Saying Goodbye to Meat, Dairy and Eggs

Newcastle University students have also overwhelmingly voted to move towards entirely plant-based catering. The university’s student council agreed a few days ago to ensure that 50 percent of food at its thickened events is plant-based and move to 100 percent at all other events where possible.

“We are in a climate emergency and the university must take responsibility for its role in mitigating climate change. Climate anxiety is at an all-time high and this motion gives students a chance to show the university that they want decisive action to be taken to sustainability,” Ella Spray, Plant-Based Universities Newcastle Coordinator, said.

Other institutions that have transitioned to fully plant-based menus include:

  • University of Stirling
  • University of Birmingham
  • University College London
  • University of Kent
  • London Metropolitan University
  • Queen Mary University

On the other hand, Edinburgh University, York, and Cardiff have rejected similar plans.

Additionally, there are several other vegan-friendly universities, including the University of Aberdeen, the University of Bristol, Nottingham Trent University, Swansea University, and the University of Manchester.

Over half of the dishes at RockSalt Food Court, located in the Student Union Building of the University of Aberdeen, are vegan or vegetarian. In April last year, the school committed to eliminating all red meat dishes from its menus and offering more meat-free choices.

Similarly, the University of Bristol, the first in the UK to declare a climate emergency, offers meat-free options in its catering facilities on the first day of the week.

The University of Leicester has two vegan cafés that students can frequent: Wholesome, located in Campus Kitchen, and The Pantry, in Union St Food Market.

Last year, over 650 academics signed an open letter to UK universities calling for a shift to 100 percent vegan catering. The letter pointed out that a majority of universities have already declared a climate emergency, meaning a plant-based menu is the right next step.

“We are acutely aware – as you must be too – of the climate and ecological crises; not only this, but we are also mindful that animal farming and fishing are leading drivers of them,” campaigners said.

According to Plant-Based University, switching to a vegan food system worldwide would free up 76 percent of farmland for rewilding.

© The Matter of Food | Unsplash

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