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Call for vegan-only food at Shropshire Council events rejected

Shropshire Council has rejected calls for only vegan food to be served at council events.

The suggestion was put forward at a meeting of the full council on Thursday, through a public question submitted by Dr Natasha Harlow.

But the council was quick to turn down the proposal, saying it was important to support the local farming community and county food businesses.

Dr Harlow said: “Shropshire Council prides itself on being one of the more forward thinking councils in the UK, putting climate considerations at the heart of governance.

“This awareness needs to include every aspect of council activities, including the provision of food.

“I believe Shropshire is well placed to show leadership by setting an example to the wider community regarding awareness of the climate impact of the food we eat.”

Dr Harlow said other councils, including Oxfordshire, Cambridge City and Exeter City have already stopped serving animal products at internal events.

She asked Shropshire Council to follow this lead, adding that even if it would only apply to a small number of events per year “it will be a small step that sends a powerful message”.

Dr Harlow added: “This is the logical, and necessary next step after having declared a climate emergency.

“It will help normalise plant-based eating, which according to an Oxford University study is the single most effective thing an individual can do to reduce their environmental impact.”

She further argued that meat and dairy products are often more expensive than vegan alternatives, saying the council would also be encouraging residents to save money on their own food bills by choosing more plant-based options.

The council’s response, read by Councillor Dean Carroll, cabinet member for growth and regeneration, said: “Shropshire Council considers that it is important to support the local food and drink producers which are so vital to the Shropshire economy.

“Locally produced food, whether of animal or vegetable origin, has numerous benefits to the local economy and the environment, as it’s a significant reduction in terms of food miles and the carbon footprint as opposed to imported foodstuffs.

“It’s also important to consider the freedom of choice of individuals to make their own dietary choices. It’s not for Shropshire Council to enforce those choices, but to ensure all dietary preferences are catered for.”

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