A JCR motion to encourage ‘Less Meat, More Veg’ to be served in Hall was passed at Balliol JCR this week after more than an hour of debate, with some saying that “desperate times call for desperate measures.”
The motion resolved to “reduce the number of meat options served from two down to one” and add another vegetarian option every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The motion was put forward by Jamie Harris, President of Oxford Students For Animals (OSFA), as part of OSFA’s campaign to encourage ‘Less Meat, More Veg’ in Halls throughout the University.
Harris told Cherwell, “I wish that debate had focused more on the environmental issues, seeing as that is what I had hoped would be the most convincing argument for students in other colleges.
“I did not expect debate on the ethical issues but instead to discuss the practical demand for wider vegetarian choice seems a perhaps slightly disappointingly mundane and amoral reason for reducing meat consumption.”
Although the motion passed, significant disagreement has been voiced. An email was sent around the football team that used a quote from ‘The West Wing’ to express discontent. It read, “We did not seek nor did we provoke an assault on our freedoms and our way of life.”
The email continued, “Rarely has the football team mobilised as a political unit, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and that time is now.”
Amendments were made to the Balliol motion to remove beliefs that “it is widely accepted by scientists that meat, dairy and milk production is extremely bad for the environment” and that “it is widely accepted that factory farming causes excessive suffering to animals and the college should [not] patronise this.”
One Balliol student, explained why they supported the amendments, telling Cherwell, “The motion put forward someone’s personal beliefs as the views of the whole JCR, which is not what the ‘beliefs’ section in motions should be used for.”
The ‘Less Meat, More Veg’ campaign was also debated at Jesus JCR recently. Alex Proudfoot, Jesus’ Green Officer told Cherwell, “Although [the motion in support of ‘Less Meat, More Veg’] didn’t go through here there seemed to
be quite a lot of support for better and more varied vegetarian options within college.”
OSFA have stated that they plan to put forward the ‘Less Meat, More Veg’ motion in more colleges in the future.