Exeter City Council in England has unanimously supported a motion asking the local executive government to transition to plant-based catering at all internal Council-catered meetings and events the Council runs. Cllr Duncan Wood, Lead Councillor for Climate Change, proposed the motion. Specifically, the motion asks the Executive to…

“1. Ensure that by the Exeter City Council Annual Council in May 2023, food provided at all internal Council catered events and meetings, including those hosted by the Mayoralty, be plant-based.

2. Ensure that all Council run external sites including Leisure Centres, cafes and restaurants have plant-based options available as part of their regular catering offer and advertised clearly on their menu.

3. Set up a cross-party Task and Finish Working Group, chaired by the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, of officers, elected Members including other relevant Portfolio Holders and invited experts to promote and embed these principles in Exeter City Council’s food provision where practicable.”

Although this is good news, the main reasoning behind the motion is environmental rather than animal rights, and the call is more toward reducetarianism rather than veganism. Cllr Wood, who it is believed is not vegan, said, “as we keep seeing, climate change is real — it’s a fact and we need to do what we can as individuals to address it. As people become more aware of climate change people ask what can I do, especially at the moment when costs are rising and money is tight. There are a number of small changes we can all make, one is what we eat. What we eat makes a difference. If we are aware of the impact on climate our dietary choices have and what the options are, how our health is affected by what we eat, we can make informed choices…There is a shared understanding in society that we should eat less meat. Climate change means we need to look at everything we do, what changes we can make to reduce Carbon Emissions and consider food production, transportation and sustainability. We aren’t saying people should stop eating meat, they may choose to of course. What we are saying is that they could be aware of their choices and that eating more plant-based food is one of the actions that they can take.”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.