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Edinburgh wants to become Europe’s first ‘plant-based’ capital

The city council has signed a treaty that could lead to a meat tax and vegan meals in prisons

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton

With Burns Night fast approaching, Scots around the UK will be looking forward to consuming that extremely tempting concoction of sheep’s liver, lungs, heart and stomach that’s better known as haggis. 

But for the Scottish capital the meaty dish could maybe soon become a thing of the past as Edinburgh City Council have endorsed a ‘plant-based’ treaty – the first of its kind in a European capital.

The treaty advocates for reduced meat and dairy consumption to combat climate change. It has been adopted by 19 other towns and cities around the world, including Los Angeles and Haywards Heath in west Sussex. The pledge is not legally binding but it is hoped that it will lead to the introduction of several measures to reduce Edinburgh’s carbon footprint.

Included in the treaty’s 38 demands is a meat tax and a transition to fully plant-based meals in schools, hospitals and prisons. It also proposes that no new slaughterhouses or animal farms will be allowed to open in the Edinburgh area. 

Critics of the move have accused the council of being ‘anti-farming’ but elsewhere it has been described as a ‘win-win-win’ for society.

Steve Burgess, the Green party councillor who first presented the treaty to Edinburgh City Council, said: ‘By declaring our endorsement, we are acknowledging that food systems are a main driver of the climate emergency and that a shift towards plant-based diets can go a huge way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.’

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