Regent’s Park have introduced a new initiative to go meat-free one day a week.
Following the result of a ballot proposed in Michaelmas Term, the College’s catering team will now only serve vegetarian meals on a Wednesday. This applies to lunch and dinner, affecting students and staff.
This move is in line with the Meat Free Monday campaign, strongly supported by Sir Paul McCartney and Jamie Oliver. This campaign advocates avoiding eating meat once a week in a bid to improve personal health and global sustainability.
Regent Park’s scheme comes as the result of a ballot proposed by PPE finalist Will Yates in Michaelmas 2014. He expressed his satisfaction with the decision: “It’s not often that we get to gauge the feelings of the whole college community on a matter like this, and I think that the community has made a firm statement of its values and beliefs. So far, the scheme seems to be going down well with students and staff alike.”
Regent’s Park is now the third College to go meat free once a week, alongside Wadham and Queens. Other colleges, including Balliol, Brasenose, Lincoln and Oriel have welcomed various motions to reduce the number of meat options offered at meal times.
As part of the ballot, Regent’s Park students were asked to vote for their preferred meat-free day, opting for the unconventional choice of Wednesday, rather than Monday. This has led to a flurry of Twitter suggestions from staff and students regarding an appropriate name for the event.
Proposals so far have so far included: “Meat Free Midweek”, “Wheaty Wednesday”, “Veggie Vednesdays” and “Vegdnesday”.
Clena Donor, a visiting student at Regent’s Park commented: “A lot of the time vegetarians like me only get one option. There’s not much to choose from and it can be hard, so what’s really great is having more choice. I haven’t heard anyone complain about it yet.
“Movements like this are starting to get more respect in the UK certainly, and in Canada. A lot of people eat meat all the time just out of habit, but this gives people a chance to try something new.”
The Meat Free Monday (MFM) campaign argues that removing meat from your diet once a week improves personal health and animal well-being, reduces green-house emissions and lessens expenditure.
MFM’s website states that “eating less meat is a compassionate step that helps prevent cruelty and suffering”, arguing that the slaughterhouse industry is responsible for significant cruelty against animals.
According to a study carried out by Oxford University’s Department of Public Health, eating meat no more than three times a week could prevent 31,000 deaths from heart disease, 9,000 deaths from cancer and 5,000 deaths from stroke, saving the NHS £1.2 billion each year.
Regent’s Park will continue to serve vegetarian-only meals once a week for the duration of Hilary term. At the end of term it will be decided whether to adopt the meat-free day permanently.