Dorset Council defies veganism and passes motion to back all farmers

Dorset Council has become the sixth local authority in a matter of weeks to defy the vegan trend
Dorset Council has become the sixth local authority in a matter of weeks to defy the vegan trend

Dorset Council has become the latest local authority to shun the plant-based movement by passing a motion that supports farmers of all sectors.

The motion ensures that all catering at council-organised events is sourced from local producers, specifically including meat and dairy, alongside plant-based produce.

In a bid to ‘reduce food miles to our tables’, Dorset councillors also committed to exploring ways of encouraging residents to ‘shop local’.

Additionally, it will also instruct the authority to oppose “excessive regulation by central government” and support the county's farmers to ensure their ability to “enhance our countryside."

It means Dorset is now the latest council to defy a plant-based campaign and movement which has been successful elsewhere in the UK.

Several councils - including Oxfordshire and the London Borough of Enfield - voted to ban meat and dairy products at their events, while pushing for the public to adopt plant-based diets.

But Dorset is the sixth council in a matter of weeks to defy calls for it to “go vegan”, after Fenland District Council in Cambridgeshire recently voted for a similar motion.

Both now join Suffolk, Cornwall, and North Northamptonshire councils who have all voted to keep meat and dairy on their menus.

In supporting his motion, Dorset Cllr Byron Quayle said farmers and food producers were facing 'breaking-point pressures'.

“Food security is one of the most important issues facing Dorset and the nation as a whole," he said.

"Our farmers deliver quality, fresh, seasonal, and affordable food to world-leading environmental and welfare standards. However, agriculture has become less profitable and the industry is in decline.

"If this industry is not supported now, we simply won’t have the capacity to meet this need in the future”.

Another, Cllr Sherry Jespersen, added: “Sustainable food production and environmental protection go hand in hand.

"Farmers face challenges from energy costs, to heat waves, droughts and floods as our climate changes – and they need our support.”

Mo Metcalf-Fisher, director of external affairs for the Countryside Alliance said it was a "fantastic result for common sense, freedom of choice, and farmers across the Dorset".

"Dorset has a proud farming heritage and that has now been officially recognised. With Dorset joining Cornwall in supporting this important motion, the South West is truly leading the way and sending a strong message to councils across the country”.

In 2021, Oxfordshire County Council sparked outrage among farmers, including Jeremy Clarkson, when it passed a motion submitted by a Green party councillor, to ban meat and dairy at its events.

At the time, the council justified the policy by saying it was ‘in the interest of the health of our planet and the health of our people’.

Three councils, Edinburgh City Council, Norwich City Council, and Haywards Heath Town Council in Sussex have also signed up to the ‘Plant-Based Treaty.