A Letter to…Meat-Free Mondays

The other day, at the beginning of a crew date at Arzoo’s, one of the girls asked if they had any vegan plates. At this, the bemused waiter replied “Vegan? What’s that, no meat? No nothing…?” I felt a surge of admiration for the staff of Arzoo’s. Not that I really have a problem with vegans – if you want to live off lentils and kale I wont stop you – just please don’t make me eat them. I was therefore very disappointed at the prospect of Meat-Free Mondays. As Paul McCartney’s veganistic lovechild, you strive to raise awareness about the detrimental environ- mental impact of eating meat.

It can’t be said that you’re not popular, though. Most of the colleges in Oxford love you. But I’m not convinced. I can’t help but feel that the driving force behind its promotion is not eco- logical. Instead, it is a reaction of the sidelined, one-option-in-hall vegetarians and vegans, who would do anything to close the abattoirs of England and outlaw Cumberland sausages.

A compromise would have been possible – two meat options one day, two vegetarian the next – but things have spiralled out of control now. The audacity of trying to deny people not only bacon but also chicken, beef, lamb and fish means the two sides cannot be reconciled. Thanks to you, you malicious meat-sucker, friendships will be tested, but so long as there isn’t a Gluten Free Fridays campaign, I’m sure we will all break bread together in the near future.

If you and your army of enraged vegetarians and vegans was really so concerned with the environment then there are many places to begin before condemning steak tartare. To begin with, the Chemistry Faculty, who are proudly sponsored by BP. In my humble opinion, tackling the University’s close affiliations with oil companies is a more worthwhile pursuit than imposing chickpea curry on innocent hungry undergrads. Buy a bike, go litter picking, use a bag-for-life, but for God’s sake, do not force me to eat a quinoa salad. Undoubtedly, the worst thing about you is that you are on a Monday. It is universally accepted that Monday is the worst day of the week, so why make it worse by taking away meat? I’m sure people would be more accepting of the campaign if it was on Thursday or Friday; then we could struggle through one hungry day and gorge themselves on foie gras at the weekend. I know alliteration is pleasant on the ear but I will not support a campaign that is based on it.

It was one thing for Jamie Oliver to take away our Turkey Twizzlers, but it is another to deny access to meat for hundreds of students. Where does it end? In five years there will be no choices, just one meal served everyday, for every meal, for everyone.