Pub changes its name to avoid offending vegans

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Just the veganning: the Shoulder of Mutton is changing its long-standing name to accommodate vegans.
Just the veganning: the Shoulder of Mutton is changing its long-standing name to accommodate vegans.
A pub has scrapped its long-standing meat-related name dating back to the 1950s – because it might compromise its plan to focus on vegan and vegetarian food.

The Shoulder of Mutton pub, translated as 'the shoulder of an adult sheep', has now been re-named the Heworth Inn to accommodate vegans.

The pub in Heworth Green, York, decided to change the name as they wanted to take a "keen focus" on vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

Public perception

Landlady Leah Stannard said she made the decision as the name 'Shoulder of Mutton' "isn’t perceived particularly well".

"We are going to have a really keen focus on vegetarian and vegan cuisine. We think it is a tasteful, sympathetic and reasonable decision," she added.

"We want to have an excellent vegetarian and vegan offering, so found the name slightly compromising of the idea."

According to the Vegan Society, more than 500,000 people in the UK now have a plant-based diet.

Veganism is currently defined as "a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose".

Statement of change

One former local at the Shoulder of Mutton said he has stopped going to the pub and labelled their name change decision as "ridiculous".

Defending her decision, Stannard explained that the pubs rebranding was long overdue and said the £50,000 investment indicated a "statement of change".

She added another reason for the change was because of her aspirations to make the pub a licensed wedding venue in 2019.

"We imaged that many brides may not want the invites for their big day to be at a place called the Shoulder of Mutton," she said.

"We have taken into account the area's and the building’s heritage and have consulted various conservation bodies in the area and received warm feedback and support for the new name."

Positive direction

Dominika Piasecka, of the Vegan Society, said the change of the name signalled a "positive direction".

She said: "We’ve heard of a couple of businesses going out of their way to exclude or annoy vegans, so it’s nice to see the opposite happen for once.

Her colleague John Soonaye echoed her comments.

"Focusing on a stronger vegetarian and vegan menu is a brilliant idea for establishments like the Heworth Inn," he said.

"There will be differing opinions on the change of the Heworth Inn, but if the intention is to highlight a more forward-thinking approach to vegetarian and vegan food, and that’s a great thing."

Credit to The Press, York​ and reporter Mike Laycock.

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