It was decided at a Pembroke food committee meeting this week that catering will be trialing a Meat-Free Monday scheme beginning 22nd January. The decision comes after a college survey revealed that 72% of the 293 respondents were supportive of the scheme.
The survey also found that 54% of respondents were supportive of there being more vegan options, meaning that catering will now ensure that there will be at least one vegan option available at lunch and dinner.
The college has stressed that the scheme is a limited trial only as they are aware of the opposition to the changes, stating that there will be opportunities for further discussion after seeing how well the trial works.
The suggestion of Meat-Free Monday has created controversy amongst the students, with heated exchanges occurring on Pembroke's Graduate Parlour Facebook page. One student compared the actions of the page moderators to ‘Stalinism’, following the deletion of a post in which the student "vehemently" opposed the motion as a "direct attack" on the freedom of students.
Speaking to TCS, Pembroke's Food officer George Lowe said there are lots of reasons for supporting a Meat-Free Monday scheme. "Some people might want to get involved for sustainability reasons, because of the impact that meat production has on the environment. Other people may be attracted to such a scheme for health reasons. On days when there is only one vegetarian/vegan option, students may find there are no such options that appeal to them – a Meat-Free Monday scheme means all the focus is on providing the best vegetarian and vegan options for students."
In response to objections to Meat-Free Mondays, Lowe said: "I would stress that the scheme is just a trial at this stage. Catering are very keen on hearing student feedback and there will be ample opportunity for discussion as the trial moves forward. There should be a JPC open meeting where this can be discussed at some point. As a trial, it would also be dependent on attendance."