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Cambridge University students vote for completely vegan menus

Cambridge University students have voted to push for a completely vegan menu across its catering services.

The Cambridge Student Union voted yesterday to “initiate talks” with central catering services about removing all animal products from its cafes and canteens, creating a “sustainable and 100% plant-based” menu.

The decision came after lobbying from Cambridge’s Plant Based Universities campaign, which is supported by Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of activist group Extinction Rebellion.

The group’s motion, which calls for the change in response to “climate and biodiversity crises”, was backed by 72% of non-abstaining student representatives who voted.

However, the student union’s decision does not guarantee that Cambridge’s catering services will go fully vegan, as the power to change food policies lies with the university.

The vote also does not directly apply to the university’s 31 colleges, although the campaign said that it provided “an extremely strong mandate for colleges to begin transitioning to 100% plant-based menus”.

William Smith, 24, from the Cambridge branch of the Plant-Based Universities Campaign, said: “It’s great that Cambridge Students’ Union has passed our motion to work with the university to implement a just and sustainable plant-based catering system.

“By removing animal products from its menus, the university could significantly reduce its environmental impact and showcase to the world its commitment to sustainability.

“The University Catering Services has already made important strides, for example in 2016 when it removed beef and lamb from all its menus. We look forward to working with them on the next necessary steps.”

Oxford’s Student Union voted to ban beef and lamb in 2020, but some of the university’s cafes still appear to serve red meat.

The Plant-Based Universities Campaign is a nationwide initiative of students who are pushing for their universities and student unions to adopt fully plant-based catering, and has offshoots at more than 40 institutions.

Cambridge University has been approached for comment.