Students at the University of Cambridge have voted to support a transition to a solely vegan menu across its catering services.
The Cambridge students’ union voted on Monday to hold talks about removing all animal products from its cafes and canteens with the university’s catering services.
However, the move does not guarantee that Cambridge’s catering services will go fully vegan, as that power lies with the university. It also does not apply to the university’s 31 colleges, although the campaign said it provided “an extremely strong mandate for colleges to begin transitioning to 100% plant-based menus”.
The group’s motion, which calls for the change in response to “climate and biodiversity crises”, was backed by 72% of non-abstaining student representatives who voted after a four-week consultation process. It comes after lobbying from Cambridge’s Plant-Based Universities campaign, which is supported by Animal Rebellion.
William Smith, 24, from the Cambridge branch of the Plant-Based Universities campaign, said: “It’s great that Cambridge students’ union has passed our motion to work with the university to implement a just and sustainable plant-based catering system.
“By removing animal products from its menus, the university could significantly reduce its environmental impact and showcase to the world its commitment to sustainability.
“The university catering services has already made important strides, for example in 2016 when it removed beef and lamb from all its menus. We look forward to working with them on the next necessary steps.”
The Plant-Based Universities campaign is a nationwide initiative of students who are pushing for their universities and student unions to adopt fully plant-based catering, and has offshoots at more than 40 institutions.
A University of Cambridge spokesperson said, “The University of Cambridge removed ruminant meat from the menu in all university catering Service cafes in 2016 and has a sustainable food policy which also seeks to actively promote plant-based options, remove unsustainable fish from the menu and reduce food waste. We always welcome suggestions from students and staff.”