Edinburgh students vote to ban beef from union outlets

The university has become the latest UK educational institution to vote on a beef ban in student union outlets
The university has become the latest UK educational institution to vote on a beef ban in student union outlets

The University of Edinburgh has become the latest educational institution to vote on a beef ban in outlets run by its students' union.

A motion to cease the sale of all beef products in Students’ Association cafes and restaurants was debated on 30 January.

The motion also asked the students' union to halt the practice of giving out beef products as freebies at any events.

At last week's meeting, the motion received 76 votes in favour, 73.5 votes against, and 5 abstentions.



In order for this motion to pass it must receive at least 50% of votes in favour, which means it is now going to online ballot. Voting closes Friday 7 February.

One argument made against the ban highlights how the Students' Association should be supporting local businesses by buying sustainable British beef.



Another argument raises concerns that beef could be replaced with unsustainable meat-free products, many of which are made of soya not grown in the UK.

Students against the ban say the transportation of these products will emit greenhouse gases.

It follows similar circumstances at the University of East Anglia, which voted last year to ban beef from its student union outlets in a bid to become more environmentally friendly.

However, this ban was overturned in December 2019 after students labelled the decision 'wrong and undemocratic', with many highlighting flaws in the justification for the ban.

The University of Cambridge is another institution which voted, in 2017, to ban red meat from student union-led outlets.

But a Freedom of Information request revealed some hypocrisy, as the uni had spent millions of pounds on over 17,000 flights in 3.5 years, the same length of time it had implemented a red meat ban citing a need to lower carbon emissions.

In response, British farmers organised a letter to the university’s vice chancellor, which calls on the ban to be reversed in favour of purchasing sustainable, red meat from local farmers.