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Student protestors call for ban on meat and dairy from all Bristol Uni catering

Climate activists urge the University of Bristol to switch to 100 per cent vegan catering

A group of plant-based student campaigners have called for meat and dairy to be removed from all menus at Bristol University in response to the climate crisis.

Earlier this week the protestors hung a sign that read “plant-based university: end the climate crisis,” outside the entrance to the Victoria Rooms.

The action was part of a coordinated national movement with protests also occurring at other universities, such as Kent, Falmouth and Southampton.

The Plant-Based Universities campaign is believed to be led by Animal Rising, a nation-wide group which began in late 2021 that calls for students’ unions to recognise the severity of the climate emergency.

The organisation also protested at the Full Council meeting outside Bristol City Council on the 12th September, advocating for an urgent ban on meat and dairy consumption.

A spokesperson from the campaign told BristolLive that the open letter from Animal Rising, which advocates for “definitive climate action,” has been signed by over 1,000 academics from more than 50 universities, as well as climate researchers.

“We are acutely aware as you must be too of the climate and ecological crises” read the letter which has been signed by notable public figures such as Chris Packham and Dale Vince.

The letter concludes by saying: “Our insecure, unsafe, and unfit-for-purpose food system cannot continue unchecked.

“Our universities have, for centuries, been shining lights of intellectual, moral, and scientific progress. What we are asking for here is no different”.

In an interview with BristolLive, Professor Colin Davis, Chair in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol, acknowledged the campaign is based on evidence, he said: “We must change the way we produce food and what we eat. Universities have a key role in promoting and showcasing the radical changes required to address the climate crisis.”

A spokesperson for the University of Bristol said: “Our food on campus is procured from ethical and sustainable sources, and we aim to cater for a range of dietary requirements.

“We have a wide variety of plant-based options available across campus. We run a plant-forward menu where 80 per cent of our menu in our catered residences is plant-based, and 75 per cent of our menu in Senate House is also plant-based. This has reduced our carbon emissions in this area considerably.

“We have also streamlined our offerings and pricings to increase non-dairy milk sales by 10 per cent, ensuring they are accessible to all.”

Cover image via @plantbasedunisbristol

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