• Sun. Sep 24th, 2023

Motion to switch to 100 per cent plant-based catering in EUSA venues fails.

ByLucy Frewin

Apr 4, 2023
Teviot Row House

The motion proposing a transition to a fully plant-based catering system in all EUSA venues by 2027 has failed with only 19 per cent voting in favour. 

Submitted by Plant Based Edinburgh, the motion was voted on at this month’s EUSA Student Council meeting. 

Following a range of speeches both for and against the motion, 152 voted in favour whilst 645 voted against. 

It would have seen a gradual transition to plant-based catering with a 100 per cent switch by the 2026-2027 academic year. 

Plant-Based Edinburgh highlighted in their proposal that this motion would help the University of Edinburgh uphold its commitments to achieving net zero by 2040. 

Plant-Based Edinburgh is a division of the UK wide organisation Plant-Based Universities. 

In their speech for the motion, Plant-Based Edinburgh reiterated that EUSA had an opportunity to make a change in a cost-effective way. 

Signposting attendees to the recent IPCC report, they cited that the agriculture industry is one of the leading causes of habitat loss, methane emissions and river pollution.

The motion faced a range of criticism at the meeting, particularly from those concerned about the removal of freedom of choice within EUSA venues. 

Other concerns raised also pointed to issues of accessibility and a potential loss to EUSA profits. 

Attendees at the meeting highlighted the lack of affordability of vegan food and the motion’s potential lack of inclusivity to specific dietary requirements. 

The motion had also faced criticism prior to voting from organisations including the Scottish Countryside Alliance. 

Commenting on the motion, the Countryside Alliance stated, “Edinburgh University should instead opt for sourcing local produce, cutting the distance travelled from supplier to plate and not discriminate based on dietary preference”. 

Speaking to The Student, Plant-Based Edinburgh described the failure of the motion as a “setback for climate justice, but one we won’t allow to stop us”. 

They reiterated that “the motion was a push to secure the future of our planet which lies in a move away from animal farming”.

Acknowledging the criticism from agricultural organisations, they stated their full support for farmers who are “increasingly being negatively impacted by climate change”. 

Moving forward Plant-Based Edinburgh said they would continue to work on changing the minds of Edinburgh’s students. 

They expressed concern that students at the University of Edinburgh “would rather take the words of those with a vested interest in concealing the truth”.

Image: “teviot row house” by Jon Vrushi is licensed under CC BY 2.0