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London School of Economics votes to take beef off menu

25 February 2020

In a move to tackle climate change, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has voted to implement a ban on beef across campus. The student activist whose initiative prompted the decision is 20-year-old PETA campus rep Phoebe Woodruff – who, along with PETA, is urging the university to replace beef with vegan options.

"More students than ever are looking to limit their environmental footprint – and cutting out meat, eggs, and dairy is the best and easiest way to do that," says Ms Woodruff. "It’s encouraging to see LSE take a stand to protect animals and the environment. Everyone who wishes to eat with compassion can make the switch to a vegan lifestyle today – it’s never been easier."

In response to the climate emergency, the University of Cambridge and Goldsmiths, University of London, have already banned beef and the universities of Edinburgh and East Anglia have hotly debated such a ban. Demand for vegan options from eco-conscious students is at an all-time high, and universities from Imperial College London to the University of Leicester are opening vegan cafés.

Reports from the University of Oxford show that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest step that an individual can take to limit their impact on the environment. Animal agriculture causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than the entire transport sector combined, and more of these gases are emitted in the production of all animal-derived foods, including meat, eggs, dairy, and fish, than in that of their plant-based equivalents. PETA is encouraging LSE to replace beef with vegan options, not other animal-derived foods.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to eat" – notes that cows killed for beef may spend their entire lives indoors, never grazing in fields or having space to move. At the abattoir, many are still conscious as they’re skinned. Chickens raised for their flesh may be confined to filthy, windowless sheds with 50,000 or more other frightened birds.

Bred to grow much larger than is natural for them, they often suffer from leg deformities, heart failure, and diseases resulting from filthy conditions and intensive crowding. Billions of fish and other sea animals are killed every year for food, suffocating slowly or being cut open while still conscious.

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