A GREEN councillor wants to ban all meat and dairy from council catered events.

Green Party councillor Ian Middleton, has put forward a motion to make sure all Oxfordshire County Council meetings are "entirely plant-based".

He also wants to see plant-based menus available for school dinners and wants to help young people make informed decisions on food choices and their impact on the environment, health and animal welfare.

However, Conservative councillor David Bartholomew feels this motion is "unacceptable" and says that veganism should be a choice.

Read also: Covid-19 figures reveal picture in Oxford at time of No 10 'Christmas party'

In Mr Middleton's motion it states: "This Council recognises that meat and dairy production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and global deforestation and that reducing consumption of these foods is a key part of tackling climate change and improving health outcomes.

"The Government's independent Climate Change Committee, advises that meat consumption should be reduced by a fifth, and that public bodies should lead the way by promoting plant-based food options. Leading by example on this, and food waste, should be fundamental components of our commitment to cutting carbon emissions.

"Furthermore, in the UK, only 18 per cent of children consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and most young people's diets lack fibre. Providing appealing plant-based school meals along with education on healthy, climate-positive food choices are excellent ways to address these problems."

Mr Bartholomew said: "I have every sympathy with vegans and I think veganism is a legitimate choice and there should always be a vegan option available. But veganism should not be forced down people's throats. It should be a matter of choice and education."

He added that this is "gesture politics at its worst" and it is "bullying" people into a vegan diet.

Mr Bartholomew proposed an amendment to the motion at a previous county council meeting, to change the wording to make a plant-based diet optional. However, this amendment was not accepted.

The Conservative councillor said that a vegan option is already available at council meetings.

Mr Bartholomew also believes the motion is discriminatory against the farmers who are making efforts to make their farming sustainable.

Read also: Walk-in jabs at Kassam Stadium get suspended

William White the NFU South East regional director said: "Representing just under 600 farmers in Oxfordshire and almost 6000 in the South East of England, we were surprised to see a motion which suggested Oxfordshire's meat and dairy production was leading to deforestation."

He added: "Oxfordshire's farmers are proud of the contribution they are making to producing climate friendly food. British red meat and dairy is produced to some of the highest welfare and environmentally sustainable standards in the world."

The motion is set to be discussed in a county council meeting on Tuesday 14.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok

Got a story for us? Send us your news and pictures here

List an event for free on our website here