Vegan Student Association starts a petition
Do you want plant-based milk in UU's coffee machines too?
First of all, coffee machines with plant-based milk would provide students with a more sustainable, animal-friendly and eco-friendly option for their coffee. These machines use plant-based ingredients instead of traditional dairy products, thus reducing the number of animal products and the environmental impact. Research shows that plant-based milk requires significantly less water, land, and energy to be produced, compared to cow's milk. Plant-based milk also emits fewer greenhouse gasses, which means that its production has a much lower carbon footprint than dairy production. Partly or entirely replacing dairy milk with plant-based milk in the coffee machines on campus would be an act in accordance with Utrecht University’s ideal of sustainability.
In addition, the dairy industry is associated with severe animal cruelty, as calves considered redundant are slaughtered and calves are separated from their mothers. In November 2022, a court allowed posters stating that dairy causes severe animal suffering to be used in campaigns and stated that Agractie, the farmers’ lobby association, is not allowed to call the posters defamatory or unlawful (link in Dutch, Ed.). In our view, a modern, sustainable university should not be associated with severe animal cruelty, implementing plant-based alternatives instead.
Coffee machines with plant-based milk provide students with a wider range of options to choose from, including vegan and lactose-free options for those with an allergy. This not only allows students with dietary restrictions or preferences to access the same range of drinks as everyone else but also makes for a more diverse and interesting selection for all. Additionally, having coffee machines with plant-based milk on campus can help to create an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding of those who have dietary restrictions or preferences. We would then have an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and accepted regardless of their dietary choices.
Our petition proposes that there should be at least one coffee machine with plant-based options in every building at Utrecht University and the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. In addition, at least 50 percent of coffee machines should have plant-based alternatives. Other Dutch universities have already engaged in a similar endeavour. Last year, Radboud University put Oat of this World coffee machines in eight of its buildings, replacing dairy with oat milk. We argue that a similar initiative would be feasible at both UU and HU.
In conclusion, it is a given that Utrecht University and the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences should consider implementing plant-based coffee machines on their campuses. To make this happen, we ask students to sign our petition before March 31. By taking action now, we can make a positive change for our environment.