IT IS disturbing enough that colleges and universities across the UK are contemplating a ban on selling meat products in their canteens, but what is even more illuminating is the total disregard of scientific fact on which they are basing these bans.

The chronic lack of knowledge being displayed at these student body meetings – some of whom’s decisions have already been overturned by more senior thinking – is more worrying when it comes from a so-called seat of learning, like Edinburgh University and its student’s union.

We cannot help but surmise that the motive behind this is not based on science, but rather personally held convictions.

The proponents of the ban have used a highly selective baseline from which they have produced the ‘facts’ for their arguments, and seem to pick and choose the bits that fit with their theory, and utterly disregard the bits that don’t.

The fact that George Monbiot, the BBC and the Guardian, were quoted as being their only ‘credible’ part of the argument on how livestock impacts on greenhouse gas production, tells you something.

Not once did the ‘real’ figures come up in the debate – and given that SRUC ag students were denied the opportunity to take part, slams it home that this is being led by spoon-fed sentiment and not facts.

For instance, the proposers of the ban have declared: ‘In 2009 the livestock industry was responsible for 37% of all methane emissions, 65% of nitrous oxide emissions and 9% of CO2 ... and this is only going to get worse’.

The Government’s own facts show that agriculture makes up just 1.5% of UK CO2 emissions and if you include methane, mainly from livestock, and nitrous oxide, largely from fertilisers, emissions by agriculture in the UK are 10% of the total. And CO2 emissions from farming are actually reducing – a fact glossed over by rhetoric in the student proposers’ manifesto.

Which all goes to show that students are being led up the garden path on this one, especially when you set it against the national stats which record that 31% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 were from transport, 27% from the business sector, and 22% from the residential sector.

What’s worrying is that the people who think they are having a grown up and learned debate on this subject, are expected to be doctors, engineers, teachers, physicists, chemists (vets at the debate were apparently shunned from contributing) plus the whole gamut of modern education – and yet here they are taking an amateurish and naive approach to their student body’ decision-making process.

Or maybe it is not – fascism was built on such blatant disregard for fact or studied opinion.