Lancaster Uni’s active part in the ‘Plant-Based Universities’ campaign
‘The debate will be polarising’
Lancaster University is one of 13 universities across the UK to be announced as active campaign sites by the group “Plant-Based Universities”.
The universities involved in the campaign will be working to create and “institutional change” on the “damage” that “animal agriculture has on the planet”.
The list was published on Instagram by @plantbasedunis, and includes Universities of Warwick, Lincoln, and Imperial College London.
The group state: “This is a student-led campaign for all university catering facilities to end the sale of animal products and make 100 per cent of their menus plant-based in order to limit the university’s contribution to the climate and ecological emergency and shift public opinion in favour of a plant-based food system.”
They also said that this campaign is supported by animal and climate justice movement group Animal Rebellion.
They acknowledge that “despite its legitimacy, the call for a plant-based university” is something of a controversial demand, given historical precedent and trends towards popular cuisine, “because it is seen by many to be going too far and even impeding freedom of choice, and in the controversy lies the campaign’s greatest power.”
Additionally, “The debate will be polarising, meaning passionate supporters and passionate opposition will be moved to participate, elevating the level of social conflict, drama and therefore engagement in the issue by ordinary students who will have to choose a side.
“The demand is also winnable, the student population are statistically the most likely demographic to be supportive of such a claim with the highest proportion of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians, and are the population group most concerned about the climate crisis.”
Plant-Based Universities argue that as universities have some of the largest cultural capital within today’s society, they are in a position to make the biggest change; they educate leaders of the future, and as such, they claim, allow the continuation of the legitimization of animal agriculture and fishing, which they believe needs to change.
PBU are encouraging all students, including those at Lancaster, to place a motion with their Students’ Union, with those being: “The science is clear, we are in a climate and ecological emergency and a transition to a plant-based food system is an urgent and inevitable solution to this crisis” and “The University needs to take its responsibility to students and society seriously, and act now to transition to plant-based catering in an effort to prevent climate breakdown and ecosystem collapse.”