WATCH Animal Rebellion activists scale government building in London demanding UK ‘defund meat’
Four eco-protesters scaled the facade of Britain’s Defra offices, claiming they’d remain in mid-air until Prime Minister Boris Johnson ended subsidies on meat and dairy agriculture and supported a plant-based transition instead.
The four campaigners, wearing hard hats and high-visibility vests, secured themselves to the outside of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) early on Tuesday, using ropes and harnesses. They have even brought food supplies, because they say they are planning to stay there “indefinitely”. Another group of activists is stationed on the ground.
It's time that our leaders chose a food system that puts the planet and all life first. We need the government to subsidise a plant-based food system. #COP26#EnoughCopOuts#PlantBasedFuturepic.twitter.com/sRJKb9OPTR— Animal Rebellion (@RebelsAnimal) October 26, 2021
The situation we're in calls for nothing less than direct action. A just transition for all life must be a plant-based transition. #COP26#EnoughCopOuts#PlantBasedFuture#animalrebellionpic.twitter.com/2wGZsKdozz— Animal Rebellion (@RebelsAnimal) October 26, 2021
Several police cars and fire engines are at the scene, and a spokesperson for London’s Metropolitan Police said the officers were “engaging with the protesters”, adding that, “as yet, there have been no arrests.”
Police arriving on scene this morning at the DEFRA occupation#AnimalRebellion#COP26#PlantBasedFuture#Defrapic.twitter.com/55QjyxXNRm— Animal Rebellion (@RebelsAnimal) October 26, 2021
The protest in Westminster comes just days ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference that begins in Glasgow on October 31. In what was apparently a message to world leaders, the four suspended activists unfurled a banner that read “COP26: Invest in a plant-based future”.
It's time that our leaders chose a food system that puts the planet and all life first. We need the government to subsidise a plant-based food system. #COP26#EnoughCopOuts#PlantBasedFuture#animalrebellionpic.twitter.com/10lUTnjmQs— Animal Rebellion (@RebelsAnimal) October 26, 2021
Meanwhile, the campaigners on the ground explained that they wanted the UK government to “take drastic action by transitioning to a plant-based food system”.
Animal Rebellion spokesperson Nathan McGovern elaborated: “World leaders at COP26 cannot talk about meeting the Paris Climate targets and securing global net zero without addressing the fact that our food system is destroying our planet.”
Animal Rebellion is an offshoot of the better-known eco-activist group Extinction Rebellion, which has a policy of peaceful but disruptive action. Animal Rebellion focuses in particular on what it sees as the negative impact the meat and dairy industry is having in precipitating climate change.
The group made the headlines in mid-July, when Animal Rebellion activists blocked one of McDonald’s main UK suppliers for days, calling on the fast-food giant to “switch to a fully plant-based food menu by 2025”. The police arrested seven campaigners on that occasion.
In late August, hundreds of anti-meat protesters held an animal-rights march in central London, blocking traffic.
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