A COUNCIL is set to vote on whether or not to back farmers at a council meeting on Thursday, December 14. 

Dorset Council is voting on a motion titled 'back Dorset's farmers and food producers', which encourages all council events to source food from local suppliers and to support local poultry, arable and livestock farmers. 

The news comes after other councils across the UK voted to ban meat and dairy items on council catered menus. 

Dorset Council is set to become the fifth council to defy the vegan trend, after Portsmouth City Council voted to keep meat and dairy last month. Suffolk, Cornwall and North Northhamptonshire have also passed the motion. 

The motion, which was submitted by conservative councillor Byron Quayle, also asks the authority to encourage residents to shop locally where possible, to help reduce the food miles of items in our homes and on our plates. 

The Countryside Alliance has lead a national campaign to ask councils to adopt 'farming friendly' policies, and has backed the Dorset Council motion. 

Mo Metcalf-Fisher, director of external affairs for the organisation, said: “We thank Cllr Quayle for submitting this motion and hope to see every councillor supporting him. Dorset has a significant farming community and this motion will go a long way in reassuring them that the council has their back. In recent months we have seen several councils back our campaign to support local farmers and growers, while pre-emptively rejecting bans on meat and dairy and so-called plant-based treaties that seek to eradicate livestock farming.

“Red meat produced in the UK is among the most sustainable in the world, and it makes every bit of sense for local authorities to encourage the public to play their part in fighting climate change by sourcing seasonal and sustainable produce from local farmers and growers - irrespective of whether its meat or vegetables. We hope all political parties support this motion.”

The organisation has urged Dorset councillors to vote for the motion. 

Several motions passed at other councils across the country encourage residents to buy ‘plant-based’ produce in a move away from meat and dairy, while also committing to only source vegan options for councillors at events.

In 2021, Oxfordshire County Council passed a motion to ban meat and dairy at its events. Three councils – Edinburgh City Council, Norwich City Council, and Haywards Heath Town Council in Sussex – have also signed up to the ‘Plant-Based Treaty’, which calls for an end to the construction of any future livestock farms and pushes plant-based food in schools and hospitals. It also includes a pledge to promote vegan food over animal products.

Enfield Borough Council also removed meat from the menu of its catering service in 2020, while Cambridge City Council will transition to fully plant-based catering for council meetings by 2026.