Green Councillor Mischa Borris suggested the removal of all meat and dairy products from town hall events as part of Hackney council’s pledge to the 10:10 Campaign, which aims to cut carbon emissions by 10 per cent by the end of 2010.
The notion was voted out, and Cllr Mathew Coggins, leader of the council’s Conservative group, slated the proposal, calling it “preposterous.” He said people should be free to eat what they want.
In the letter, which is to be published in the Hackney Gazette later this week, Cllr Borris wrote: “Cllr Coggins may think the link between animal agriculture and carbon emissions is questionable, but this is no surprise when, in the same week, some of his Tory colleagues in Brussels voted with the BNP to discredit climate change and the crucial Copenhagen summit.
“It is laughable and frankly misleading to suggest that I was advocating that the entire population of Hackney schoolchildren be forcibly converted to vegetarianism or veganism.”
Meat Free Mondays
She also encouraged Hackney’s schools and other partners to have one meat-free day a week, a similar proposal to Paul McCartney’s Meat Free Monday campaign, which asks households to cut out meat on Mondays in order to slow global warming.
The idea was also rebuffed by Cllr Sophie Linden, cabinet member for sustainability, who stated that Hackney Council has signed up to reduce emissions from its buildings only.
Cllr Borris said: “The response was very disappointing but frankly what I expected from an administration that has taken small green steps on climate change but lacks boldness.
“Carbon emissions from animal-based agriculture, especially from dairy and beef production, are now recognised as a major contributor to climate change. We can’t just ignore that.”
A recent study highlighted by the 10:10 Campaign, which the council supports, concluded that meat-based diets and meat agriculture amounted to 51 per cent of greenhouse emissions.