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In recent years, the public has become increasingly aware of the environmental and health dangers of unrestrained meat and dairy consumption and of how important it is, for the future of this planet, that we drastically cut down on our intake of animal products.

And now, the meat-free movement has gained a further boost, with the news that Wadham College – one of the University of Oxford’s thirty educational institutions – has passed a student-led motion to ban meat products and serve only vegan food for five nights a week.

At a recent meeting of the students’ union, fourth-year engineering student James Kenna proposed the motion of serving only vegetarian food for four nights a week. However, Ben Szreter, a second-year history student, suggested that in order to effect real change, the college needed to serve only vegan meals for five nights a week. This motion was passed.

He later commented, “if the purpose of the motion was truly to make an environmental change with our food consumption, my amendment was the logical conclusion of the argument.” But he did express concerns that prospective students may be intimidated by the new menu: “Five days of food may sound intimidating to students across the country, and many Wadham students I’ve spoken to have said that they would have applied to another college if this policy was in place when they were applying.”

The student union’s Food Representative will carry the successful motion to the college’s next Food Committee meeting.

Wadham College was founded in 1610, and currently attended by 150 graduate students and 450 undergraduates. It was one of the first colleges in Oxford to accept female students, and is renowned for its progressive policies.

The college had earlier agreed, in March 2014, to go meat-free on Mondays. It was noted at the time that “excessive meat consumption is harmful to the environment and it could also lead to an increased risk of certain illnesses like bowel cancer.”

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