Edinburgh City Council has come under fire for joining the Meat-free Monday campaign.
Edinburgh is the first local authority in Scotland to drop meat from its Council-run lunch menus every Monday, joining others across England and Northern Ireland, as well as schools as far afield as Brazil, South Korea and USA.
The move is designed to encourage healthy eating, raise awareness of the environmental impact of livestock production and “the poor standards in which some animals are raised”, said children, education and families convener, Councillor Ian Perry.
Food and farming chiefs reacted angrily the news. Quality Meat Scotland said the council’s decision showed “a very serious lack of understanding of the Scottish red meat industry and what sets it apart”.
QMS chairman Jim McLaren said: “There is, of course, no problem with schools including meat-free meals as part of their regular range of meal choices. Our disappointment is that an organisation, particularly one linked with education, should position their decision to support a campaign with a clear anti-meat agenda.”
A spokesman for the council told Footprint that changes to menus “always attract both positive and negative attention”. He said there has been a “growing uptake” of vegetarian dishes during the last three menu cycles.