Vegan push fails to gain support at Blue Mountains City Council

A push to put vegan and vegetarian food on council's menus, instead of meat, has been formally rejected at the November council meeting.

Long-time vegetarian and recent vegan, Greens councillor Kerry Brown, ignited the debate on November 26, pushing for council to phase out meat products at council events and functions.

But Liberal councillor Brendan Christie declared the idea ridiculous, threatening people's "liberty".

File photo: Blue Mountains Greens Cr Kerry Brown has campaigned on a range of environmental issues and has turned her attention to trying to phase out meat use at council functions.

File photo: Blue Mountains Greens Cr Kerry Brown has campaigned on a range of environmental issues and has turned her attention to trying to phase out meat use at council functions.

"It is not a bureaucrat or politician's job to dictate their own ethics to their citizens," he said.

"Council provides vegan options at events so that we accommodate everyone. Whether you like tofu or a juicy Angus beef patty on a sesame seed bun, a bureaucrat shouldn't be the one to tell you what you like to eat."

"At a time when we should be supporting our farmers through a terrible drought, we shouldn't be excluding any Aussie agriculture. Instead, all levels of government should be doing everything they can to promote home-grown produce."

Cr Brown said "this is not a crazy Greens thing."

She claimed warming from Australian agricultural emissions over the next 20 years will be greater than from all fossil fuel emissions. And climate change and catastrophic loss of biodiversity required a transformation of food production practices.

"Council isn't a catering service ... food has to change."

Cr Brown was initially supported in her motion by fellow Greens Councillor Brent Hoare, but he called her facts into dispute about agriculture, citing fossil fuels were a far bigger problem.

"It is imperative politicians of all stripes are informed by an accurate understanding of the best science. Abatement of 'short lived climate pollutants' such as hydrofluorocarbons and methane is an important way to achieve near term emissions reduction. However, it is incorrect to assert these measures "buy time" or are more significant than the much larger challenge of reducing very long-lived carbon emissions," Cr Hoare said.

Council staff rejected the idea, with their "operational response" citing council had already increased its range of food options with a focus on plant-based catering and internally "meat makes up a very small percentage of foods offered".

"Further work in this area is not deemed to provide the greatest carbon reduction impact for the council when compared to other council operations currently being implemented," the meeting heard.

Cr Brown was the sole supporter of the motion. All other councillors voted against the idea with Cr Hoare and Cr Daryl Bowling out of the room and Cr Kevin Schreiber on a leave of absence from council.

Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said while he did not want to be disrespectful to the idea there were bigger issues facing council at present.

"We have got a bushfire off to the north off the city slowly creeping towards us, we have had fire upon us and we have a proposal for 30 metre trucks [through the highway duplication plan]."

Cr Greenhill added: "It has been noteworthy how closely Councillors Brown and Christie have worked together this term. I feel certain this disagreement will be short lived."