A doctor has urged Lancaster City Council to only serve plant-based foods at its events to help address the climate emergency, health, and the cost of living crisis.
Dr. Charlotte Houltram made the proposal during a public questions session at Morecombe Town Hall. She also suggested that food should be locally sourced and seasonal.
“Lancaster prides itself on being one of the more forward-thinking districts in the UK, putting climate considerations at the heart of governance,” Dr. Haultram said. “However, this awareness needs to include every aspect of council activities, including food provision.”
Dr. Haultram went on to address the cost of living crisis, saying that meat and dairy are “almost always” the most expensive part of meals and that plant-based food is “consistently considerably cheaper and healthier.”
She continued: “By doing the right thing for the planet, and promoting eating for good health, the council can also save money; especially if the produce is sourced locally and seasonally, helping to work towards a ‘circular economy.’”
“I would like to see our council being part of the solution by committing to cease purchasing animal products to bring its food policy into line with its other climate awareness strategies.”
While her proposal was reportedly met with disdain from some Conservative councilors over concerns it could harm livestock farmers, Green councilor and council leader Caroline Jackson seemed in favor of the idea.
She committed to discussing the proposal, saying: “We will take this forward with residents, businesses, and stakeholders because we have regular community conversations. This is an ideal community conversation.”
She added: “At this point, I can’t say which one we will do. But we will consider your ideas. We must put climate considerations at the heart of governance.
UK councils move away from animal agriculture
If Lancashire does take Dr. Haultram’s advice, it won’t be the first UK council to make the switch to plant-based.
Councils in Oxfordshire, Cambridge City, and Lewisham in London, have all committed to serving only plant-based food at their events.
Oxfordshire Green Councilor Ian Middleton said the move put his council “in the history books” and “on the right side of history.”
The decision by Oxfordshire was made despite protests from local farmers, as well as former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson.
Middleton said: “My motion is not anti-farmer, but livestock farming is one of the greatest contributors to climate change.”
Animal agriculture’s environmental impact
According to the UN, animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also takes up a huge amount of land and is estimated to have caused 91 percent of Amazon deforestation.
A major study from 2018, which was the biggest analysis of its kind to date, found that giving up meat and dairy was the “single biggest way” humans could reduce their impact on the earth.