Could Scotland Ban Meat? Parliament Considers Petition To Transform The Food System

A new petition is requesting that Scotland end meat consumption by 2040


3 Minutes Read

A woman eating a burger The Scottish parliament will discuss a petition calling for a ban on meat - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

The Scottish Parliament’s Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee will consider a new petition that calls for a countrywide meat ban.

Roger Green submitted the petition. He is a member of Vote With Your Fork, a campaign that seeks to move the world towards a meat-free future. The petition sets out environmental reasoning behind the idea, alongside concerns about animal welfare.

Green wrote: “We in Scotland need to look at the system behind how food gets to our plates. This includes growing, farming, fishing, processing, consumption, and the sentience of the animals in that food system.”

He also addressed the fact that both the United Nations and World Health Organization have recommended a global move towards plant-based diets to secure better planetary and personal health for all. 

The main demand of the petition is to bring a ban on meat production and consumption. This would be anticipated between 2023 and 2040.

Ramping up an anti-meat campaign

Green previously wrote to every Scottish MP in April this year. 

The letter, published on the Vote With Your Fork website, draws attention to a catalog of reasons why Green feels that meat should no longer be on the agenda for Scotland.

After claiming that a move towards mainstream veganism in Scotland is a vital weapon against food insecurity, the climate crisis, and fuel poverty, he closes by asking MPs to research the entire contents of the letter. 

Green’s hope is that MPs will support the development of alternative domestic food production systems. This, in turn, will allow for a move away from traditional animal agriculture.

Green specifically cites a desire to see Scottish farming moving towards plant-based meat alternatives. A cross-party committee to audit his claims is another of his recommendations. In addition, he refers to a potential bill to ban meat in Scotland, which ties to the new petition.

Moving away from meat

Meat production is a massive contributor to the ongoing climate emergency. As a result of the vast carbon and methane emissions generated by industrial animal agriculture, a number of climate experts recommend a shift towards meat-free eating

Supporting calls for mainstream veganism are initiatives such as the Plant Based Treaty. An offshoot of the Paris Agreement, it directly addresses meat’s impact on global warming. Pledgers are asked to adapt their eating habits to reduce the food system’s effect on the climate.

Haywards Heath, a West Sussex town in the UK, became the first in Europe to officially sign up to the treaty. Pledging to take active steps to promote veganism to its 34,000 inhabitants, the council is already making progress. Educating local businesses and encouraging schools to reduce food waste and embrace plant-based foods are key starting points.

Globally, 18 cities are signed up to the treaty, 14 of which are in India. In the UK, Glastonbury’s council has been petitioned by 5,000 people to sign up. Furthermore, Glasgow, host of COP26, has been asked to make the move. Animal Save Movement launched a petition to persuade Glasgow City Council to ditch meat, gaining more than the 15,000 signatures it needed.

If Glasgow does sign up to the Plant Based Treaty, it could lend weight to Vote With Your Fork’s campaign, which is gaining the attention of Scottish MPs.

Two have reportedly responded to Green’s letter. According to his petition wording, one Member of Parliament “broadly agreed with the content and proposal” put forward by Green. Another concurred with certain points but was unconvinced that a meat ban would be a viable course of action.

According to the Scottish Parliament’s website, the petition, which gathered 101 signatures, is now “under consideration.”

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