The proposal was raised on 30 January during a student council meeting, receiving 51 percent of votes in favour of the ban among the present elected representatives. Following this result, the motion was proceeded by an online ballot open to all matriculated students on 7 February.
Nearly 6000 students participated in the ‘Cease the sale of all beef products in Students’ ballot and the final result ended with 58 percent of students voting against the motion. The University will continue to sell beef produce in its cafés and restaurants.
The motion was proposed as a way of reducing the University's carbon footprint, in addition to other measures that have been taken to improve sustainability on campus. The Edinburgh University Students‘ Association (EUSA) have issued a number of reasons for the ban including issues regarding animal welfare, water pollution and the increase of methane, nitrous oxide and CO2 emission caused by the livestock industry.
The Edinburgh Farm Animal Veterinary Society (EFAVS) has released an oppositional statement in response to this proposal: “The media and many other campaigners are pushing an anti-ruminant or anti-meat rhetoric, communicating the idea that all meat is bad and plant-based options are always a better alternative. This is a massive oversimplification- production methods and their environmental impacts vary hugely within foodstuffs for both livestock and arable. We ought to be far less concerned with what we eat and start to consider how and where what we eat was produced.”
The referendum followed the decisions of the University of Cambridge and Goldsmiths, University of London, which have both discontinued the sale of beef on their campuses.