Exeter JCR has defeated a motion to continue ‘Meat Free Days,’ a decision which has engendered culinary frustration and divided vegetarians at the college.
The motion, which would enforce the serving of vegetarian dishes once a week, was raised in order to include the opinion of first year students regarding the matter. The result was a close, with 87 students voting in favour of the motion and 97 against.
A JCR committee member commented: “It is very much a divided issue. There is a fairly large contingency of vegetarians at Exeter although, interestingly, the pressure to impose meat free meals on students comes from other sources. For example, a lot of students at Exeter support the meals on an environmental rather than ethical basis.”
She added: “I think that the motion was ultimately defeated because of a lack of variety in the vegetarian meals themselves. A system like that of St Catz or St Hilda’s, which offers at least two options, would be more effective.”
One Exeter vegetarian, who wished not be named, was unfazed by the death of meat free meals at Exeter: “I don’t like to impose my own views on other students. For this reason I don’t think that the meat free meals are particularly effective, because it obliges other students to abstain from meat, albeit for only one day per week. I agree that more variety on the menus would be a step towards winning students’ approval of them.”
Another student said: “The MCR at Exeter seems to feel more strongly about this matter than the JCR. It’s important to remember that, even though the Meat Free motion has been defeated, Exeter sources all of its meat from local farmers and in this sense is already environmentally friendly.”
Exeter is not the only college under fire from criticisms regarding the meat free meals. Last week, Wadham College considered a motion to continue Meat Free Mondays, although in this motion passed. Wadham SU President Noah Waterfield-Price said that “the meat free meals are obviously a contentious issue. Personally, I think that the idea behind them makes a lot of sense, although the way it is implemented in some colleges means it is not so effective.”
Meat Free Meals at Exeter had already faced stiff competition from other dishes on the college menu, such asSteak Mondays. Although obligatory vegetarian meals at Exeter are no more, it was noted by the JCR committee that attendance at these vegetarian dinners did not differ significantly from that of meat dishes.