Stirling University’s beef and dairy ban causes a stir

Stirling Students’ Union has voted in favour of making all the food served at its catering facilities fully plant-based by 2025. An interim target of 50% by the 2023/24 academic year has also been set. The decision will impact menus on offer at the union’s three catering outlets. Other venues owned and operated by the university will not be affected. “You will still be able to get a pizza from Scran and a pack of bacon in the Co-op,” noted the university’s student newspaper. “Nobody will slap your sausage roll out of your hand if you’re eating it on campus.”

Students in over 20 universities across the UK are demanding a transition to fully plant-based catering on their campuses, as part of the Plant-based Universities campaign, which is supported by Animal Rebellion.

Other universities, like Goldsmiths, University of London and Cambridge University have banned beef. An investigation by PA in 2020 showed that, of the 144 institutions that responded to Freedom of Information requests, almost half have introduced dedicated events aimed to reduce consumption of meat, or aimed at non-meat eaters.

Stirling is thought to be the first to introduce a full ban on meat and dairy. Turnout for the vote was extremely low, according to some reports. There have also been reports of a backlash against the students who pushed for the change.

Representatives from the Scottish beef and sheep industries called the ban “bonkers” and “illogical”.

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