Students at one of Scotland’s leading universities have voted overwhelmingly against plans to ban meat and animal products in a “victory for freedom of choice”.

Activists at the Edinburgh University put forward a proposal that only plant-based food would be served in union-run campus outlets and to phase out all forms of animal produce — including cheese, cow’s milk and honey — within four years.

Only 19% voted in favour of the motion, which would also have seen “climate footprint calculations” added to menus, at a meeting of the student council.

The Countryside Alliance welcomed the result, saying it was good to see “common sense prevail” and “freedom of choice protected”.

Mo Metcalf-Fisher, a spokesman for the rural campaigning group, told the Times: “This is the second time Edinburgh students have voted against banning meat and dairy and shown support for UK livestock farming, which is among the most sustainable in the world.”

The proposal had been put forward by Emily Kemp, who claimed it would have boosted inclusivity and sustainability.


Ms Kemp, 19, insisted her campaign for vegan-only menus would not be ended by the student consensus.

“This is a setback in our strive for climate justice, but not one we will allow to stop us,” she said.

“Going plant-based is a step that must be taken; it is only a shame that it will not happen sooner.

“If Edinburgh’s students are so far unconvinced that animal agriculture is wrecking our planet and would rather take the words of those with a vested interest in concealing the truth, then we will continue to work to change that.”

The proposals have been put forward by branches of the Plant-Based Universities (PBU), which is closely linked to Animal Rebellion — an offshoot of the activist group Extinction Rebellion.

Nathan McGovern, the co-founder of PBU, said: "Just last week students at Birmingham University overwhelmingly voted for a plant-based motion, alongside others at Stirling and Queen Mary University of London."


Quality Meat Scotland, which represents farmers and producers, was encouraged by the Edinburgh vote result.

“We are pleased that Edinburgh University students have voted to keep meat on the menus of their catering outlets,”said chief executive Sarah Miller.

“Red meat is a natural source of protein and Vitamin B12, it is vital that it continues to be consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet.”

More like this…

View all