Student - January 19, 2016

Students protest against Meatless Monday

Text:
Rob Ramaker

On Monday five students protested during lunch against Meatless Monday by handing out meatballs at the Forum building. They believe that the almost meatless day is too forceful and think that the discussion on pros and cons of meat is now silenced.

Photo’s: Sven Menschel

Since May all canteens only sell a limited amount of meat products on Mondays. At first as experiment, but since October the so called Meatless Monday became a fact. The initiating organization Green Office wants to draw attention to the problem that is associated with meat production, such as climate impact, animal suffering and land use.

The protest was friendly. The five students hung a banner at the Forum bridge with the text ‘Meat on Monday’ and handed out, some dressed as cow or hotdog, meatballs to people that passed by. Meanwhile, they chatted with students, journalists and also Marta Eggers, coordinator of Green Office, who came to check out the situation. She stated that she was open for discussion.

We primarily want to start a discussion.
Ruben Imhof, first year Biotechnology student

The activists said that they are not necessarily against eating less meat. ‘We primarily want to start a discussion’, Says Ruben Imhof, first year Biotechnology student. The Meatless Monday would not succeed in this because ‘it was imposed top down and offers little background information’. Imhof: ‘We want that people are well informed and have a free choice.’ According to him, changing behaviour using force instead of persuasion does not suit a university.

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In Wageningen Meatless Monday is not entirely vegetarian. In the canteens it is still possible to buy some meat products, such as sandwich toppings. For Eggers this illustrates that Green Office tries to avoid force. The activists do not agree. ‘You can maybe buy a kroket or a ham and cheese sandwich’, says Imhof, but he feels that the offered choice is severely limited. ‘I do not want to eat pumpkin on bread.’