The University of Cambridge has voted in favor of beginning negotiations to remove all animal products from its catering services.
The motion was proposed by organizers of the Plant-Based Universities (PBU) campaign. The initiative calls for “sustainable and 100 percent plant-based” catering at university cafés for environmental reasons.
In a vote that took place on Monday night (February 20), 72 percent of non-abstaining student representatives voted in favor of the motion. PBU Cambridge, backed by the Cambridge student union, will now enter a dialogue with the University Catering Services. They hope to agree on a plan to transition the university cafés away from animal products as soon as possible.
“The Plant-Based Universities campaign was set up as a direct response to a massive blind spot in university sustainability: their catering,” the campaign’s co-founder Nathan McGovern told Plant Based News (PBN). “Particularly at Cambridge, a world-leading institution, this decision has been made as a clear sign that times are changing and young people are taking the necessary steps.”
The University of Cambridge is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It’s thought that there are around 24,000 students enrolled at any given time. It previously removed lamb and beef from its menus amid environmental concerns. Plant-Based Universities has since praised its decision to take the next “necessary step.”
Colleges crack down on meat
The University of Cambridge isn’t the first educational facility in the UK to move towards plant-based eating.
In November last year, the student union at Scotland’s University of Stirling announced it would remove all animal products from its food outlets by 2025.
This decision also came after a campaign from Plant-Based Universities.
The environmental cost of meat
Animal agriculture is one of the most destructive industries there is. It’s a leading cause of biodiversity loss and deforestation, and is also responsible for at least 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (though some estimates put this figure much higher).
A number of studies have found that a shift to a plant-based food system is essential to avoid climate breakdown. There remains, however, a lack of understanding among the population of just how critical our diets are.