Vegetarianism and Veganism
We want a change in college catering attitudes to vegetarian food — away from the token, often unappetising, alternative and towards something actively promoted as healthy and sustainable, supporting students trying to be vegetarian or to cut their meat consumption rather than making mealtimes difficult for them.
What's the issue?
From animal welfare to carbon content to inefficient land use and global hunger, there are a host of ethical and environmental arguments in favour of vegetarianism. We don't have space to go into them all here, although we've provided a list of links if you do want further information.
However, the main context for the Real Food Campaign's approach to meat consumption is raising awareness of environmental, and particularly climate, related issues surrounding it - which are generally less well understood than the animal welfare aspects. Animal farming is more land, energy and water intensive than plant farming; in addition, farmed animals are a significant source of methane, a greenhouse gas with a warming effect even greater than carbon dioxide. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, animal farming already produces 18% of the world's greenhouse gases - more than the total produced by all forms of transportation. Beef production uses 100,000 litres per kilogram. Some groups claim that going vegan has a more significant impact on the average individual's carbon footprint than buying an eco-friendly car.
Beyond college dinners
It's not just your choice in hall which can help, for animal products and nasty things which have been tested on animals find their ways into many an everyday item. Luckily, you can get vegetarian and vegan toiletries and cosmetics from Lush, The Body Shop, Arjuna Wholefoods on Mill Road, and Revital health store on Jesus Lane. For vegetarian and vegan lunch breaks and snacks, there's the local gem of Mouth Music, which sets up its stall on Market Street during the week and on Saturdays.