Yorkshire council votes to recommend meat and dairy ban

The policy change means meat and dairy will not be served by the council at any of its own events
The policy change means meat and dairy will not be served by the council at any of its own events

Calderdale Council leaders have voted to recommend serving only vegan food at its events, prompting a backlash from rural campaigners.

The West Yorkshire council said the move demonstrated they were “leading by example”, as the 51-member authority strives towards “stopping climate change in its tracks”.

The policy change means items including ham, bacon, beef, cheese and dairy milk will not be served by the council at any of the events it runs on any given year.

Councillors from all parties will now get to have their say at a full meeting before the policy is voted on and implemented.

Following earlier backlash, the motion’s proposer, Councillor Scott Patient, insisted council enforcement officers would not swoop in on residents to police whether they were eating “wafer thin ham”, nor would they block people from smuggling in their own milk to council buildings.

Adding their voice in support of the scheme was Council Leader Jane Scullion, who argued that despite not being a vegetarian, showed the council was “doing its little bit” to reduce carbon emissions.

She added: “I don’t think the world is going to end if the council takes a small amount of responsibility”.

The Countryside Alliance, which is spearheading a fightback against councils banning meat and dairy, described the move as “unnecessary”.

Its director of external affairs, Mo Metcalf-Fisher said red meat produced in the UK was among some of the most sustainable in the world and "something we should all be proud about".

"We need our political leaders to reject this nonsense, back British farming and the vast majority of the public who enjoy meat and dairy as part of a balanced and healthy diet," he said.

“We strongly urge councillors to reject the cabinet’s support for this divisive policy and instead engage with local farmers and producers about how we can all work together to reduce carbon emissions.

"Shutting the door on those who work hard to enhance and maintain our countryside while feeding the nation is a gigantic step in the wrong direction”.

In 2021, Oxfordshire County Council sparked outrage among farmers, including Jeremy Clarkson, when it passed a motion to ban meat and dairy at its events.

Three councils, Edinburgh City Council, Norwich City Council, and Haywards Heath Town Council in Sussex have also signed up to the ‘Plant-Based Treaty’.

It also includes a pledge to promote vegan food over animal products. Labour run Enfield Council and Oxford City Council have both voted to ban meat and dairy from their events too.

However, Peterborough, Rutland, Cornwall, Suffolk, Wiltshire, Dorset and Portsmouth council as well as Highland Council in Scotland have all passed opposite motions to defy compulsory veganism campaigns.

They instead commit each authority to supply locally sourced produce- specifically including meat, dairy, and plant-based products- with the aim of reducing food miles to plates.