Reading Time: 2 minutes Local farmers hit back over claims they produce 'climate-friendly' food Credit: Monkey Business/Adobe
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A British Green party councilor has ruffled feathers for calling for all meetings to provide solely plant-based food. He also urged for more plant-based options to be served in schools across Oxford.

Now, the plans have been approved and the Green Party has banned meat and dairy from all official events.

The councilor called to educate more young people about the ethical, environmental, and health implications of their food choices.

This was to the dismay of a Conservative colleague who branded the plans “unacceptable.”

Oxford councilor’s plant-based calls

Cllr Ian Middleton put forward plans to veganize Oxfordshire Council. Yet disagreements ensued when Conservative Cllr David Bartholomew argued it should remain a choice.

Bartholomew said: “Veganism should not be forced down people’s throats. It should be a matter of choice and education.”

This was in response to a motion to fellow councilors put forward by Middleton, who stated: “Meat and dairy production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and global deforestation,” the Oxford Mail reports.

The motion passed last week.

“No one is taking away free choice, these changes will only affect those who wish to avail themselves of food provided by the council.

“What members do outside the council walls is their own affair,” commented Middleton.

Meat and dairy

Reducing consumption of meat and dairy is a “key part” of tackling climate breakdown, he stressed, in hopes the council would echo those views.

This is especially important for children, the motion continues: “Only 18 percent of children consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. And, most young people’s diets lack fiber.

“Providing appealing plant-based school meals along with education on healthy, climate-positive food choices are excellent ways to address these problems.”

Bartholomew branded the plan discriminatory against Oxfordshire farmers, his views backed by the local National Farmers’ Union (NFU) branch.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “We were surprised to see a motion which suggested Oxfordshire’s meat and dairy production was leading to deforestation.

“Oxfordshire’s farmers are proud of the contribution they are making to producing climate-friendly food. British red meat and dairy is produced to some of the highest welfare and environmentally sustainable standards in the world.”

Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.