Vegans hit back in Shropshire bus advert row

A vegan society has hit back in a row with a county councillor over adverts placed on buses in Shropshire.

Buses – one of the Veganuary adverts
Buses – one of the Veganuary adverts

Shropshire Council’s deputy leader Steve Charmley criticised Arriva on social media for displaying an advert on the back of some buses, with a message about turning vegan for January.

He said the ads did not go down well in a rural county where there are many livestock and dairy farms.

Now Shropshire Vegans and Veggies, who paid for the advert, have struck back.

Michelle D’Arcy Jewell, who is part of the group, said they had no desire to see local farmers out of work but wanted the council to consider “how to help them move away from animal agriculture for the sake of the environment”.

She said research showed that cutting out meat and dairy products can help people reduce their carbon footprint.

Michelle said the Vegan Society is currently running a ‘grow green’ campaign, encouraging farmers to grow more protein rich, vegan crops.

In the letter she continued: “Not only does it reduce the amount of animals farmed, it also enables people to buy locally grown crops that they previously may have had to import from other parts of the country, or even abroad.”

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Councillor Charmley had criticised the bus company and demanded a meeting with the business.

He posted on Twitter: “Whilst I don’t object to anyone choosing what they eat and when they eat it. I really object to Arriva buses running Veganuary adverts in Shropshire, a great county built on agriculture! I am asking to meet with Arriva to discuss.

"I hope @NFUShrops does the same. #vegansneedfacts.”

Councillor Steve Charmley

After the tweet, he explained his comments and said: “It was brought to attention by my son who works in farming, and I am someone who was in farming too.

"There have been a couple of buses seen in Shrewsbury, but this is a county that relies heavily on agriculture. We want to promote farming in the county and that is why I have asked for a meeting about Arriva on this.

"It is rammed down people’s throats, but I don’t object to people choosing what they want to eat.

"I appreciate they have commercial revenue from this, but this is an industry that brings a lot of income into Shropshire.”

A spokeswoman for Arriva said: “Advertising on our buses is managed by a third party company, which works with us to ensure the messages we display on-board our fleet do not cause offence to our passengers or the general public.

"We take all complaints and customer feedback seriously and we are working with the third party to investigate.”

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