What could a vegan mayor actually do?


Civic elections are coming up in my city, and this got me wondering...

If the electorate decided to elect a mayor and council where a majority wanted to use their powers as elected officials to support the movement away from animal-based food products (pro-vegan platform), what would they actually be able to do? I live in British Columbia, Canada.

Obviously the mayor and council wouldn't be able to make an entire city of people go vegan. What powers do they have in terms of taxation, zoning, legislation, and other municipal measures that could make a difference? I am particularly interested in the angle of changing food availability to support action on climate change.

I was originally going to ask on Vegetarianism.SE but this site seems like a better fit.


Posted 2018-10-13T21:14:34.323

Reputation: 181

One of the candidates running to be mayor of Toronto is vegan, and here is his platform https://www.mikemoreyears.com/animal-welfare (this might help inspire better answers)

– Nic – 2018-10-16T15:10:47.510



Municipalities in British Columbia are regulated through the Local Government Act of British Columbia and the Community Charter (and Vancouver has its own thing that applies only to it, but let's avoid that.)

The Fundamental Powers section of the Community Charter might be a good place to start, as this brief fragment might demonstrate:

8.3 A council may, by bylaw, regulate, prohibit and impose requirements in relation to the following:

(i) public health;

(j) protection of the natural environment;

(k) animals;

Extant bylaws that might offer some inspiration include Victoria's Idling Control Bylaw (4 pages) (its preamble: "The purpose of this Bylaw is to protect public health and the environment through regulation...") and also New Westminster's Shark Fin Regulation Bylaw (just 1 page!) which has a similarly-useful preamble and also contains this punishment:

Every person or business entity who contravenes the provisions of this Bylaw commits an offence and is liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $10,000.00. A separate offence shall be deemed to be committed upon each day during and in which any contravention of this Bylaw occurs or continues.


Posted 2018-10-13T21:14:34.323

Reputation: 3 910

2This is a nice start, but it would benefit from going just a little further. Are there federal laws that would overrule provincial or local laws related to meat consumption? – divibisan – 2018-10-17T15:35:50.330

4I appreciate that you looked up all these relevant sources. However, links should never be the only valuable content of a good answer. You could improve this answer by telling us what these sources say about the subject matter of the question. Maybe you could give us a few examples of what a hypothetical vegan mayor could actually do with these tools to further their vegan agenda? – Philipp – 2018-10-17T15:37:19.537


Mike Bloomberg almost banned soda in NYC (well, large containers, at least). In theory, they can ban sale of almost any food, although ordering online interstate in USA can't be banned for constitutional reasons... not sure about Canada.

Plus, they can levy almost astronomical tax (think cigarette taxes in NYC again) to discourage demand.

Plus, they can hire health commissioner that can find some articles about how animal products are unhealthy, and ban their use on health grounds (I mean, entire US anti-MJ policy seems to be based on far flimsier scientific evidence).


Posted 2018-10-13T21:14:34.323

Reputation: 84 347

1What is "anti-MJ" policy? – gnasher729 – 2018-10-14T10:17:54.683

@gnasher729 - MJ. pot. – user4012 – 2018-10-14T11:44:13.800

3Well, that answers the question. So what on earth is MJ. pot.? – gnasher729 – 2018-10-14T21:38:36.070

@gnasher729 MariJuana a.k.a. pot – Caleth – 2018-10-14T22:34:55.653

2As a libertarian, I find myself in unenviable situation of despising US drug enforcement policy, while never having even considered taking any drugs and generally having low opinion of drug users on a personal level. – user4012 – 2018-10-15T00:50:08.813

14This answer seems to be based entirely on what an US mayor can do and assuming that the same applies to a Canadian mayor. It might be better to answer this question from a more Canadian perspective. – Philipp – 2018-10-15T08:22:01.843

8"NYC almost banned soda" is not a very accurate description of the proposed law. More accurate would be "ban gigantic soda portions being sold in restaurants". For comparison, I think you'll be hard-pressed to find soda portions larger than half a litre in most of Europe at all, simply because there is no demand for it. Soda isn't "banned" there. Regardless what you think of the law, this is not an accurate description. – None – 2018-10-15T10:56:13.590

6And the suggestion that a vegan ruler-ship will "use entire city budget on vegan propaganda" instead of "pothole fixing and sanitation" is frankly just ranting and border-line insulting. – None – 2018-10-15T10:57:42.720

4@MartinTournoij - you are deliberately misinterpreting my answer, as usual. I wasn't "ranting" - I was suggesting possible practical options that I would consider as a Mayor. Somehow I doubt you'd be very critical if I answered 100% same thing but the Mayor's goals aligned with your political bias. – user4012 – 2018-10-15T11:55:57.073

@Philipp - agreed, but I posted it as a comment and OP themselves said they would want it as an answer so apparently it's good enough for them. – user4012 – 2018-10-15T13:26:14.160

@MartinTournoij - oh, and regarding your other comment, my answer explicitly clarified it was about large containers, right on line #1. – user4012 – 2018-10-15T13:30:12.963

@MartinTournoij It would be great if you could submit an answer of your own. Cheers! – Nic – 2018-10-15T14:30:52.567

2Using "the entire city budget on vegan propaganda" is not a "practical option" that any reasonable person would consider. It comes of as a characterisation of the stereotypical fanatical vegan who cares about nothing else except veganism. The overwhelming majority of vegans are not like that. And yes, you clarified the soda thing, but why mention "almost banned soda" in the first place? It is simply not true and more snarky partisan "jokes" that don't work well here. I would be less harsh on your answers if you would leave that kind of silly and boring stuff out. – None – 2018-10-16T01:53:36.583

1I don't know enough about the legal and de-facto responsibilities, traditions, and powers of mayors in Canada @nic (or indeed, much about Canadian politics in general). – None – 2018-10-16T01:55:15.803

Any rational person finds themselves in the same unenviable situation, given how objectively terrible the US drug enforcement policy is. – Erik – 2018-10-16T05:46:45.737

Funny how so many hypothetical dystopian political discussions can point to New York for specific examples. – Ask About Monica – 2018-10-16T18:19:00.043

2@MartinTournoij This is a purely hypothetical question about what someone could do, not a real-world question about what anyone would do. – Acccumulation – 2018-10-16T20:46:45.287

1@kbelder "dystopian" is a matter of opinion and perspective. One person's dystopia is another's utopia. – phoog – 2018-10-17T15:40:21.517