Sheffield SU urges students to stay away from dog racing stadium after vegan boycott
Vegans say they’re ‘outraged’
Students will be urged to stay away from a dog racing stadium after vegans complained about animal abuse.
New Sheffield Students' Union guidance will discourage student-led societies from holding events at OEC, a dining venue next to Owlerton greyhound stadium.
It comes after The Tab Sheffield revealed that vegans are boycotting the University of Sheffield's most prestigious ball.
Edward Bramley law society faced a backlash from vegan members who said the Christmas Masquerade Ball, set for 28 November at OEC, forced them to "conflict with our beliefs".
Kat Laura, a second year law student, criticised the lavish careers society for being "ignorant to animal suffering", and said vegan, vegetarian and pro-animal rights members were "drumming up support" for a boycott.
Tony Williams, a second year law and criminology student, told The Sheffield Tab: "Myself and many other students are outraged at their decision to host the ball at a place that profits from animal abuse."
In the last year Owlerton has allowed dogs to race in 34 degree heat, in the Beast of the East storm, and has allegedly kept them kennelled on site while hosting firework displays. OEC shares the ownership of Owlerton and sells private booths for race day spectators.
After The Tab's story, Martha Evans, the SU activities officer, met with concerned Ed Bram members, reportedly promising them that the SU will not endorse OEC for balls in future.
According to a member present at the meeting, if any society chooses OEC as its venue again, the SU will explain the Ed Bram controversy in an attempt to dissuade them.
In an email seen by The Sheffield Tab, Evans confirmed "the OEC would not be added to the Ball Planning Guide as an example venue" again.
It marks a U-turn after the SU initially said cancelling the event "would be unfair to those attending", sparking outcry from vegan students who said they were "very disappointed" by the SU's stance and wrote an open letter in protest.
In the letter, vegan student Kat Laura accused the SU of "prioritising a student societies (sic) profit over being transparent and fair to vegan members".
Ed Bram society said it was happy to meet with "concerned members" and apologised for initially telling members that OEC and Owlerton were "completely separate" venues.
Sheffield SU declined to comment on the new guidance, but told The Sheffield Tab: "The Students’ Union is a space in which all students are supported to discuss and raise awareness of issues of importance to them."
The Sheffield Tab approached Owlerton stadium for comment.