The University of East Anglia (UEA) student union has overturned a ban on the sale of beef from all its bars and shops on campus.
The u-turn followed widespread criticism by students, religious groups and farming bodies.
The controversial decision to ban beef was made on 7 November after a vote by the union that succeeded by just 1%. It followed a decision by the UEA to declare a ‘climate and biodiversity emergency’.
Sophie Atherton, the university's campaigns and democracy officer, who voted for the ban, said: “Research demonstrates that beef production is a critical contributor to climate change; beef requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken.”
However, some students were upset that they had not been properly consulted. Jess Barret a journalist for the university’s student newspaper labelled it undemocratic. She said: “Unfortunately, this decision was made without sufficient consultation to the wider student body.”
Jack Annand, the treasurer and union representative for university group the Cocktail Society initiated the motion to reverse the ban. He said: “Trying to bridge the price gap between meat and non-meat alternatives is a better way to combat the environmental impact of beef.”
Student Union councillors held a second vote on 5 December, with 52% voting to reverse the ban, 36% voted for it to remain in place and 12% abstained.
Tim Bonner, the chief executive for the Countryside Alliance which represents farmers, said there were better way to tackle climate emissions. He said: “Our message is clear: source local, grass fed beef and cut carbon emissions that way."
Goldsmiths University of London banned the sale of beef across its campus from the start of the 2020/2021 academic year alongside a series of measures aimed at reducing its environmental impact.