Animal Rebellion protesters scale outside of government Defra building in London

Four activists have used ropes and harnesses to scale the building and have brought supplies up with them to stay ‘indefinitely’

Holly Bancroft
Tuesday 26 October 2021 17:39
Animal Rebellion Protestors Scale DEFRA Building In London!

Protesters from the environmental campaign group Animal Rebellion have scaled the outside of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs building in Westminster.

The protesters posted a photo on social media on Tuesday morning of four people in hard hats and high-viz, seemingly half way up the Defra and Home Office building on Marsham Street, London.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “Shortly after 6am we were alerted to a small group of protestors climbing the outside of a government building in Marsham Street to access the roof.

“Officers are on the scene with the London Fire Brigade and are engaging with the protestors. As yet, there have been no arrests.”

The building is home to the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs and the Home Office.

The protesters said they were scaling the building to demand “government support for a plant-based food system at Cop26”. They added: “The protestors have said that they will take action until the government defunds meat and subsidises a plant-based transition.”

They intend to remain on the building, suspended in hammocks, “until UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledges to cut all taxpayer support for animal agriculture”.

Animal Rebellion is an off-shoot group of Extinction Rebellion, which is particularly focused on the impact of the meat industry on climate change.

Nathan McGovern, who was on the ground at the action, said that four activists had scaled the building at around 6am on Tuesday morning.

He said: “The climbers plan to stay there indefinitely. They will be unfurling a banner that will be presenting the government with our demand that they should be investing in a plant based future. Then we will take it from there.

“There are three or four police cars here and they have shut the section of road in front of Defra and the Home Office. There are a couple of fire engines and an ambulance here as well.

“All the protesters have rucksacks and supplies with them. They are on the building with harnesses and ropes so they are safe and in no danger. It has been done in a very controlled, safe way.”

A spokesperson for the group, Bel Jacobs, said: “The UK government is simultaneously saying that it is a world leader in climate change whilst propping up the unsustainable and unprofitable meat and dairy industry, one that emits disproportionate amounts of greenhouse gases.

“This hypocrisy has to end – we need to defund meat and subsidise plant-based alternatives instead.”

The Metropolitan Police said they were working “as quickly as possible to remove those who have climbed the building in the safest way”.

They added: “Working from height is incredibly complex and can be dangerous. With height, comes risk. We have specialist teams who train for these scenarios, but we must allow those officers to make a number of detailed assessments before they attempt to remove activists.

“The claims that officers at the scene ‘just stand watching’ is not a fair reflection of events.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in