On 22nd April 2024, Earth Day, vegan activists protested on the Trent Bridge, an iconic landmark of the city of  Nottingham, England, by hanging a banner stating “Go vegan or we all die”. The activists of the animal rights group PETA were protesting about Nottingham City Council’s plans to make Nottingham the UK’s first carbon-neutral city by 2028, which does not emphasise enough the importance of moving toward a plant-based food system to replace the animal-based system, one of the most important measures required to combat climate change. 

Kate Werner, senior campaigns manager with PETA, said: “A plan to go carbon neutral that doesn’t address the impact of animal agriculture is just hot air. PETA is asking everyone to take personal responsibility for the climate catastrophe by going vegan.”  Although the Council’s Carbon Neutral 2028 plan refers to eating plant-based foods, it does not give this issue the required priority and it does not ban the use of animal products in its catering, as other more progressive councils have done. For instance, in December 2021, Oxfordshire County Council was the first local authority in the UK to go plant-based in all its internal meetings, and in April 2023 Oxford City Council, the local authority of the capital of this county, followed suit. 

Several other councils signed the Plant Based Treaty, which could be argued is the minimum a council should do to take this issue seriously. On 14th March 2023, Norwich City Council became the third council in the UK to endorse it after Edinburgh and Haywards Heath.

Speaking about Nottingham City Council’s commitment to the carbon neutral 2028 goal despite its financial crisis, leader Councillor David Mellen said: “We still have that ambition. We can’t ever do it by ourselves. Emissions of the city council went down in the last recorded year whereas emissions in Nottingham went up.”

“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’.