Saturday 24 February, 2024

Council meat rules likened to those of 'pork pie police'

Officials at Gloucestershire County Council hit back at proposals to reduce meat menu options

clock • 2 min read
Labour councillors have said eating meat harms the planet and people's health
Image:

Labour councillors have said eating meat harms the planet and people's health

Councillors have been dubbed ‘the pork pie police' after a row erupted about the quantity and quality of meat that should be available with council offices.

Gloucestershire County Council approved a Green Party motion earlier this month which called for a rethink on meat - urging members to adopt a policy of serving better quality meat, less frequently. The motion also sought to include a range of nutritious and balanced food options along with less packaging and greater use of recyclable utensils.

An amendment from the Conservatives was then proposed which made reference to ‘good quality meat' being offered, but no mention of reducing its appearance on the menu. 

This then provoked concerns among some Labour councillors who said they could no longer support the motion.

Vegetarian Councillor Wendy Thomas (Labour, Dursley) said she was in favour of sustainable procurement around food in the county and urged members to adopt a reduction, citing climate change and the supposed health benefits of eating less meat as the reason.

She said: "Consumption and production of meat is a substantial contributor to climate change and is responsible for roughly a third of the UK's diet-related carbon emissions.

"The one essential and easy thing we can do as individuals to help the environment is to eat less meat."

However, Councillor Tim Harman (Conservative, Lansdown and Park) hit back and likened the comments to those of the ‘pork pie police'.

He asked: "How do you even enforce the fact that someone could smuggle pork pies or a bacon sandwich into this building? Are they going to face disciplinary action for sitting there eating their pork pie?

"Quite clearly as a former public health cabinet member I entirely endorse the idea of promoting healthy eating. That is all worth doing, but I am afraid personal choice must still be there.

"If we do not give them options in this building they will toddle over the road into one of the shops."

See also: Rural fight back - as another council set to join Cornwall is resisting meat and dairy ban

However, councillor Joe Harris (Lib Dem, Cirencester Beeches) said debating a ban on meat was a waste of time.

He said: "We have got the Conservatives and the Green Party today bringing a motion talking about banning bangers and prohibiting pork.

"We have just spent the last half an hour talking about food. We should be talking about the issues that matter to local people."

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