Union Council will tonight debate a motion to reverse a controversial beef ban passed at the previous meeting. The motion aims to “reinstate beef products, but to also help change the culture at UEA by bridging the price gap between beef products and their respective substitutes.” Jack Annand and Matty Yandle, of Cocktail Society and Pasta Society, proposed the motion. They hope to achieve their aim “adding a ‘levy’ onto beef products, with the primary aim being to reduce demand, and a secondary aim to use funds raised by the levy to subsidise meat substitutes.”
Last month the council voted to ban the sale of beef in uea(su) outlets for environmental reasons and lobby the university to do the same with a majority of just 1%. The move was criticised by many, including agriculture expert Dr David Rose, who said sourcing local meat “is the way forward, not a ban which alienates our hard-working meat farmers”.
Union Council has more than 200 councillors, but only 90 voted on the motion. This led many students to question Union Council’s voting process. Yet campaigns and democracy SU officer Sophie Atherton stands by the Council.
In an interview with Concrete she said: “When you look at those 90 representatives, we do represent the student body.”
She added:“I have sustainability within my remit, so I thought it was appropriate, and I agree with the sentiments of it. Fundamentally what it proposes is that uea(su) outlets remove the sale of beef and we lobby the university to do the same. The university doesn’t have to do what we say. It would be amazing if they do look at this because beef is one of the most unsustainable meats.”
Atherton believes this sort of action is something “that’s going to keep on coming” following UEA’s decision to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency earlier this year.
Union Council will meet tonight at 6pm in LT2. Although anyone can attend the meeting, only councillors will be able to vote.