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SU-turn: Union Council reverses controversial beef ban

Uea(su) Union Council has voted to reverse a controversial ban on selling beef in SU outlets.The beef ban was in place for less than a month. Following a debate at Union Council last night that lasted approximately half an hour, 52% of councillors voted in favour of reversing the ban, with 36% voting against doing so, and 12% abstaining. Jack Annand and Matty Yandle, of Cocktail Society and Pasta Society, proposed the motion to reverse the ban.

Following the meeting Mr Annand said: “I’m very happy that council decided to pass this motion tonight. We’ve seen some emotion on both sides of the beef ban and I felt it was important to have a motion that acted as a compromise.”

He added: “I want this motion to go alongside further education as to why meat consumption habits need to change, because this is a huge environmental issue and we need to all work together to tackle it effectively.”

Uea(su) will now reinstate beef products and bridge “the price gap between beef products and their respective substitutes” with a levy on beef.

In her speech opposing the reversal, campaigns and democracy officer Sophie Atherton said uea(su)’s trustee board has the power to approve or not approve policies passed by Union Council. Although she wanted the ban upheld, she admitted the original beef ban was “likely to be overturned” by the trustee board.

Mr Annand implored Union Council not to rely on the trustee board’s decision, and the majority of councillors agreed with his request to reverse the ban.

Although councillors make up only around 1% of UEA’s total student population of 17,000, Ms Atherton maintains Union Council represents the student body. In the original vote to ban beef 90 out of a possible 214 attended the vote. Last night just 75 councillors voted on the motion.

In an interview with Concrete following the original beef ban Ms Athertonsaid: “When you look at those 90 representatives, we do represent the student body.”

She believes actions such as banning beef are something “that’s going to keep on coming” following UEA’s decision to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency earlier this year.

06/12/2019

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Chris Matthews