Oxford Vegan and Vegetarian Society (VegSoc) are launching a new ‘Two Day A Week Campaign’. This would involve Oxford all colleges serving two hall meals a week completely meatfree.
The Two Day A Week Campaign manager, Calum Isaacs said to Cherwell: “Many college halls have introduced one meatless day a week with great success. We think this should be increased by one extra day to further reduce meat consumption around the university, so that all colleges can reduce their carbon footprints”. Many colleges across the University have set a commitment to reach net-zero carbon, the University itself committing to a target of 2035; VegSoc believes this will be more accessible and realistic with adoption of the Two Day a Week Campaign.”
VegSoc believes that the power behind this campaign will come from Oxford students. The first measures for putting the motion in place will come “democratically through all JCRs in the next month”. The Campaign hopes that they will be successful in pushing “two veggie days a week in every college hall by the end of the academic year” and will work with colleges and their catering management to sort out the steps to put the change into effect after students have shown their support.
Wadham College Student Union voted in 2014 in support of Meat-Free Mondays with the attitude to improve student health and to help the planet. As of 2019, the college voted in another meat-free day. A vegetarian student at Wadham reported “mixed responses”, with some students having “decided to opt out of these dinners” due to a lack of “sufficient choice” following the decision.
There has been much attention in recent years to the negative environmental impact that the production of animal produce, namely the beef and dairy industries, have on the planet. Isaacs argues that meat consumption “incentivises livestock farming that produces animals that release methane, which has a much stronger greenhouse gas effect than even CO2. It also motivates carbon-producing deforestation through inefficient land use”. These meat and dairy industries alone contribute to 50% of total emissions and 67% of deforestation. VegSoc believes that spreading a vegetarian diet across the university for two days a week will “add up to a significant reduction” on the University’s carbon footprint.
Aside from environmental reasons, the benefits of a vegetarian diet have been proven to reduce the risks of colon cancer which red and processed meats have been found to contribute to.
Hertford student, Kirsten Fletcher, supports the campaign. She said to Cherwell, “considering the ethical and environmental implications of the way we eat should be an effort made by everyone, not just passionate environmentalists and animal lovers”.
“In reality, plant-based food is very simple to incorporate into student life, and the campaign is a great way to introduce people to vegetarian food and challenge preconceptions that eating plant-based meals is a dramatic or difficult change”.VegSoc calls for “anyone who thinks that they agree with this to get involved” and students can do so by following their social media and can join the campaign by signing up to be a college rep using the link on their Facebook.
Image credit: Oxford VegSoc