Oxford University Students Vote To Ban Beef And Lamb At Campus Canteens

by : Julia Banim on : 18 Nov 2020 09:04
Oxford University Students Vote To Ban Beef And Lamb At Campus CanteensPixabay/Pexels

Students from Oxford University have voted to ban beef and lamb at campus canteens, in a bid to tackle the harmful effects on the environment caused by meat consumption.

The Oxford Student Union passed a motion by a two-thirds majority on Tuesday, November, 17 to ban red meat at campus eateries, including at places that offer food in the university libraries and other such buildings.


However, the 22,000-member-strong union doesn’t have the power in itself to change university policy, and union representatives will now have to lobby the university and its individual colleges to bring about the ban.

OxfordWikimedia Commons

According to the motion, which was proposed at the weekly student council, Oxford University needs to show greater leadership when it comes to the issue of meat consumption and the environment:

As the UK’s premier university, the nation looks to Oxford for leadership, but Oxford has shown a lack of leadership in addressing climate change.

The banning of beef and lamb at university-catered events and outlets is a feasible and effective strategy to help the university meet its revised 2030 goal.

The university has a commitment to anti-racism, and this requires urgent action to minimise greenhouse emissions.


As per Greenpeace, the livestock sector generates just as much greenhouse gas emissions as ‘all cars, trucks and automobiles combined’, with millions of square kilometers of natural ‘carbon sinks’ having been destroyed by cattle ranchers to make room for grazing pastures.

Furthermore, according to the Carbon Brief website, the environmental impact of eating beef and lamb ‘dwarfs’ the impact of other food. This is because cows and sheep are ‘ruminants’, meaning their digestive processes produce higher levels of methane gas.

red meatPixabay

It’s therefore understood that greenhouse gases could be significantly reduced should human beings change the way we consume food, with global shift to ‘flexitarianism’ having the potential to save more than five tonnes of CO2 each year by 2050.


Ben Farmer, representing charities and the community at the Oxford Student Union, said:

I welcome the mandate to engage the university on this important issue. It is important to recognise that food-based changes may not be possible for every student or staff member at the university.

Further, food-based changes are just one part of changes we’d like to see the university make to tackle the climate crisis.

Should Oxford University put this motion into action, it would be following in the footsteps of its rival Cambridge University as well as London’s Goldsmiths University, both of which have already introduced a campus-wide ban on beef.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Animals, Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, meat, Now, Oxford University


Greenpeace and 1 other
  1. Greenpeace

    Eating Less Meat, More Plants Helps the Environment

  2. Carbon Brief

    Interactive: What is the climate impact of eating meat and dairy?