Alan Jenkins ( AC teacher, UK)
The problem with meat free Monday as it is, is that it will never persuade a carnivore to eat less meat and this is the reason it is being reviewed. Vegetarians also need to show that they understand the arguments of carnivores too. It is no good being vegetarian on sustainability grounds if you consume potatoes grown in Egypt, non free-range eggs, large quantities of dairy products, etc. There are also question marks over Soya production and mycoproteins (Quorn) to consider.
I am not opposed to Ken’s view as it is evidence based. My main frustra-tion is that I know students aren’t engaging with meat free Monday because the food served on a Monday is either not appealing to them or they are claiming that it is an infringement on their rights. This may be due to the modest catering budget with which we operate and it is symptomatic of our culture of consumerism which makes fresh good quality fresh vegetables and sustainably produced vegetables too expensive. I am happy for meat free Monday to be our statement but it only becomes meaningful if all (or at least the vast majority) students support and understand all of the arguments. At the moment I do not believe this is the case, and if all the takeaways in Llantwit are profiting from it this then our current statement means nothing. It will need to be relaunched (perhaps as a focus week), it will probably mean spending more on Mondays’ option for a while. There are also good environmental arguments that actually support meat production in a sustainable way but I accept on the whole as a society meat and some vegetables (e.g. Egyptian potatoes) have been made far too affordable by use of non-sustainable farming methods.
Ken is right though it shouldn’t die a death due to a lack of engagement with the issue. Do staff opinions count when we all have the means to pop home and cook up a nice steak?
-United Words Team-