The ban on the sale of beef at uea(su) outlets has sparked outcry from students on social media. However, the fact that this motion was passed at the most recent Union Council meeting demonstrates that there is support for the ban. I, for one, am in favour of the SU’s initiative and think that those who aren’t are missing the point.
Only SU outlets are ceasing their sale of beef, which just means that it will no longer be available from the bar or the SU shop located on The Street. Other university owned outlets, such as Campus Kitchen, will continue to sell meal options that include beef. For meat eaters, there are still a range of options in SU outlets, you will only need to look elsewhere for your beef. This is easy to source from other locations. For example, the Tesco that is relatively close to campus still offers beef, and, whilst expensive, is arguably cheaper than the items that are frequently labelled as overpriced at the SU shop.
I’m not sure that a “beef ban” is the best way to promote this move to students, but it is easier to understand when you regard it as less of a ban, and more of a choice from the SU to no longer engage with a part of the meat industry which causes so much environmental damage. This isn’t a campaign from non-meat eaters who are trying to force you into their way of living, it is a smart move to make the campus more environmentally conscious in reaction to the current climate crisis.
This is a positive move from the SU. We all do what we can for the environment on a personal level, whether that’s by being strict with your recycling or walking to university as an alternative to transport, but we need change on a larger scale to make a real difference. The literal state of the planet is far more important than the annoyance of a few people who now need to go to Tesco to purchase their beef, or simply select a different meat from the SU’s range.
I have seen several comments stating that if the SU really cared about the environment, they would tackle the issue of single use plastic on campus, with many referring to the huge amount of VK bottles disposed of after an LCR night. I’m sure that removing the availability of VKs from the LCR would just cause another kind of backlash. But realistically, we need to start somewhere, and it is fantastic to see the SU taking this initiative. Hopefully, this “beef ban” is just the first step in UEA becoming a more environmentally friendly space.