Keble JCR has passed a motion for meat-free Mondays in Hall. The motion, brought on May 8, focused on the environmental impact of eating meat and the large improvement a relatively small reduction could make, according to data put forward in the motion.
It ran into opposition when moved to debate, as JCR members questioned some of the practicalities of MCR approval and individual choice. In the end, however, the motion passed 24 to 10 with three abstentions.
Jack Palmer who brought the motion stated, “Meat-Free Monday is about much more than just reducing the absolute amount of meat consumed in Keble on one day. It is the hope that this will prompt people to engage more with the issues surrounding meat consumption and the industrial livestock industry with all its damaging consequences.
“However there’s a positive side too – that people will discover the delicious vegetarian and vegan food that Keble produces and will be more likely to opt for this, or other sources of non-meat meals, during the rest of the week.”
The motion was justified by those who put it forward because “the consumption of meat is one of the largest drivers of human induced climate change,” and quoted the results of a WorldWatch study.
“One does not have a given right to meat at every opportunity.”
The proponents of the shift also pointed toward the potential health
dangers of eating too much red meat as a reason to limit people’s intake.
Palmer, who proposed the motion, claimed their most frequent criticism dealt with a lack of choice for those who wanted meats on Mondays, a campaign which culminated in an MCR motion to negate the JCR’s decision.
Palmer and others who pushed the motion responded “one does not have a given right to meat at every opportunity.” He pointed out that the consequences of the environmental damage are often “being felt by the poorest and most marginalised people on the planet.”
Palmer hopes the motion will help people consider the personal and environmental implications of their everyday dietary choices.
Fairlie Kirkpatrick Baird, the Environment and Ethics Officer for OUSU, told Cherwell , “I’m very excited to hear that Keble has passed a Meat Free Monday motion. World meat production produces more carbon emissions than all transport taken together, and therefore limiting personal meat consumption is a very effective way of reducing individual carbon emissions.”
Indeed, Baird said “The Meat-Free Monday campaign is a fantastic way to raise awareness about this impact, which studies have shown is actually not well understood or acknowledged. Although cutting out meat on Mondays alone may seem small and ineffectual, the cumulative effect it has on the carbon emissions of a college is significant due to the massive amount of food they produce each year, and the increased awareness the campaign brings hopefully increases impact even more.”
Beyond this, OUSU works with “Veggie Pledge, a campaign run in November each year in which colleges compete to get the most individual pledges to reduce dairy and/ or meat in the month of November.”
Keble JCR is the latest to have passed a motion excluding meat from Hall. LMH will be considering a similar motion in January, following in the footsteps of Lincoln, Wadham, and now Keble.