Councillors have been left outraged after a ruling was passed that only vegan meals should be served at official events and feasts.

After the Green Alliance and Liberal Democrat passed a policy that prohibited the sale of milk or meat at future events, the row between Oxfordshire county councillors erupted.

The move, which will apply to the meals which are provided to the council six times a year, comes after a report from the government’s Climate Change Committee urged the nation to cut their meat and dairy intake by a fifth to combat climate change. 

However, it was criticized by the opposition councillors. Some called the orders “wrong” while others said that veganism “isn’t something to be forced down on vegetarians or meat-eaters”.

The row between county councillors in Oxfordshire came after the Liberal Democrat and Green Alliance passed a policy prohibiting the offering of meat or dairy. Pictured: County Hall in Oxford

Following the Green Alliance and Liberal Democrat passed a policy banning the selling of dairy or meat in Oxfordshire, there was a row among county councilors. Pictured is County Hall in Oxford

David Bartholomew of the Tory Council, representing Sonning Common, called these orders dictatorial.  

He explained that while the Conservative opposition thinks veganism should have respect, it shouldn’t be forced upon vegetarian and meat-eaters. It is important to use a carrot and not a stick approach.

And independent county councillor for Henley-on-Thames, Stefan Gawrysiak, said: ‘For the council to actually force all catering to become plant-based is wrong. This must be done gradually.

This motion was approved last week.The following was proposed by Ian Middleton of the Green Party was a member of Oxfordshire County Council and wanted all meetings to be ‘entirely botanical’.

The policy also called for ‘targeted education in schools on dietary health, food growing, preparation and waste avoidance and for the county school meals service to make fully plant-based menus available to schools that ask for them’.

Vegan Councillor Middleton stated that while the government has advised that dairy and meat consumption be cut by one fifth, the county council should ‘take advantage of the opportunity to lead the way’.

He explained that we need to encourage people to consume less meat. Council receives six meals per year. It was my belief that the council should take advantage of the opportunity to show leadership and get the message across.

“I would have thought anyone who is truly concerned about the environment’s future would consider that a small sacrifice in the interest of future generations.

“I don’t think all councillors should go vegan, but I do suggest that the food served by council on certain occasions should be plant-based.

“Councillors that don’t like it can eat it outside the chamber.”  While it was hard work, this motion has finally been submitted to council.

“We are now joining several other authorities that have passed similar motions but I think we’re first county council to do this.

These changes won’t affect anyone who wants to eat at the council. Outside the walls of the council, members can do whatever they like.

The move was put forward by Green Party councillor Ian Middleton, who wanted to ensure all county council meetings were 'entirely plant-based'. (Stock image)

Ian Middleton from the Green Party proposed this move to make sure all county council meetings are ‘entirely plants-based. (Stock image)

The policy comes after a report from the government's Climate Change Committee urged the nation to cut their meat and dairy intake by a fifth to combat climate change. (Stock image)

This policy follows a report by the Climate Change Committee of the United Kingdom. It urged citizens to reduce their dairy and meat consumptions by five percent to fight climate change. (Stock image)

“This was a democratic vote taken collectively. This simply means that the council should encourage healthy and plant-based foods in face of mounting evidence regarding the climate and health risks associated with intensive dairy and meat production.

“We wanted to also highlight the fact that small-scale farms in Oxfordshire are moving towards sustainability, encouraging a closer local connection between customers and food they buy.

“These aren’t choices that we make for ourselves; they’re for the future generation. 

“This small change sends out a strong message to our community that we are serious about climate change and that we will play our role as leaders in the future.        

A report by the Climate Change Committee of the UK laid out several measures that could be taken to reduce emissions in the coming 15 years.

It urged moves including halting sales of gas boilers by 2033, banning new fossil-fuelled cars – including hybrids – by 2032, and encouraging people to cut the amount of meat and dairy they eat by a fifth in the next decade.

According to the report, reducing livestock consumption would reduce global warming-related greenhouse gasses.

It suggested families should move away from meat and dairy, helping to reduce livestock numbers, by choosing ‘plant-based options’ – and one day even meat grown in a laboratory. 

According to the report, modelling done by Oxford University experts would require a reduction of around 89% for beef, 66% for pork, and 63% for lamb. It also requires a reduction of 20% in milk products.

The article also stated that consuming more plant-based foods can help reduce the incidence of non-communicable conditions like heart disease, diabetes and other dietary-related cancers. This can in turn lower your risk of getting severe Covid-19 complications.