Berlin university canteens going almost entirely meat-free has been described as a “small but useful step” by environmental activists.
StudierendenWERK - which operates the canteens - says menus will now be 68% vegan dishes, 28% vegetarian, and just 2% fish and 2% meat.
As part of the plans, the canteens will move to offering only vegetarian and vegan dishes on Mondays.
A meat dish will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a fish dish on Wednesdays and Fridays.
They say the decision has been made to ensure menus are more climate-friendly, and comes amid “steadily increasing demand” from students.
There's also a pledge that meat and fish will be purchased from suppliers in the region.
Patrick O’Connor from Extinction Rebellion told The Hard Shoulder it’s “absolutely” a step in the right direction, especially amid the increasingly stark warnings about climate change.
He said: “We need to be making as many steps and as bold steps as we can.
“I would see this as a very small but useful step.
“I’m not advocating everyone go completely vegetarian - meat can be part of someone’s diet, but in balance.
“Reducing or eliminating meat is one of the biggest individual impacts we can have on climate breakdown.”
He said more and more land is currently being taken up for beef and dairy farming, which in turn can increase levels of emissions.
He explained: “We’re not having a go at farmers at all - we know they’re hard workers and doing the best we can.
“But we can see the system is broken - a dairy farmer, for instance, now probably has to have about twice the herd that their parents had. They earn about half the money of what they’d have made before. The system is forcing people into intensification - that’s the only way to actually get an income.”
Beef farmer Thomas O’Connor says Ireland's dairy herd has increased, but there has also been a recent reduction in the suckler herd and the number of cows on beef farms.
He said: “It’s very true… due to the price pressure farmers are under… farmers have been left with no option but to intensify and increase.
“We’re all being told about how we want a higher environmental ambition for the products we’re producing. But are people willing to pay the higher price for it?”