Goldsmiths, University of London, said beef burgers would be ‘consigned to history’ on campus as it pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025.
Farmers and industry leaders have hit out at a university decision to ban the sale of beef burgers as part of a major drive to ‘cut carbon use’.
Goldsmiths, University of London, said beef burgers and bottled water would be ‘consigned to history’ on campus as it pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025.
The College’s new warden Professor Frances Corner said the plan included; removing all beef products from sale from campus food outlets by the start of the 2019 academic year; introducing an additional 10p levy on bottled water and single use plastic cups; and continuing investment in Goldsmiths’ allotment area and identifying other areas where planting could help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Prof Corner said: “Though I have only just arrived at Goldsmiths, it is immediately obvious that our staff and students care passionately about the future of our environment and that they are determined to help deliver the step change we need to cut our carbon footprint drastically and as quickly as possible.”
NFU president Minette Batters questioned why the focus was not instead on ‘the more serious challenges like our clothing, technology, cars, holidays [and] food waste’.
She added on twitter: “Agriculture is the only industry that is both a source and a sink.”
Mrs Batters aimed her next tweet at several national media outlets, including the BBC, Guardian, and Channel 4 News, asking: “Can you all sleep at night? I represent 50,000 NFU farmers, many of which are feeling isolated and terrorised and all because of your deeply flawed approach to tackling climate change.
“And do any of you care? We are the only industry that has committed to try and beat the government target for net zero.
“But that has not made any of you even pause – you just keep going because it is easy and because you can.”
The National Beef Association said it would be more beneficial to the university to ensure that all of their produce, including beef, was UK-produced and locally sourced from an environmentally sensitive grassland production system.
“The UK continues to lead the way globally in environmentally sustainable beef production and this should not be compared or confused with environmentally damaging beef production systems elsewhere across the globe,” it added.
Cumbria farmers Trevor and Gemma said the move seemed like a knee-jerk reaction which would ‘dangerously misinform public opinion’.
They added: “Surely a commitment to sourcing sustainably produced food locally and avoiding imported and non-seasonal produce would have a much bigger impact?”