The environmental activist group Animal Rebellion made headlines for scaling a Home Office building in Westminster on Tuesday.
The protesters said they were scaling the building to demand “government support for a plant-based food system at Cop26.” They added: “The protesters have said that they will take action until the government defunds meat and subsidises a plant-based tradition”.
Four activists intend to stay on the outside of the building, which houses the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for as long as they can and have brought backpacks with supplies up with them.
So who are Animal Rebellion?
Animal Rebellion are an off-shoot group of the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion. They started out by running themed days or events as part of Extinction Rebellions’ rebellion weeks, but have since branched out to organising their own separate “actions”.
The group were part of the Extinction Rebellion protests in August 2019 and said they began by declaring themselves “in open rebellion against the UK government on August 17 2019, whilst occupying Trafalgar Square with 10,000 people”.
On 7 October that year, Animal Rebellion organised a protest at Smithfields Market, the oldest meat market in the UK. They set up dozens of tents and demanded the market became vegan.
Earlier this year, on 27 August, Animal Rebellion ran another protest as part of Extinction Rebellion’s fortnight-long protest against the global climate crisis in London. Activists were arrested after dyeing the iconic Buckingham Palace fountains blood red in a protest against the use of crown land for hunting and animal agriculture.
What do they want?
Animal Rebellion activists have three main demands. The first, called “Tell the Truth”, calls on the government to declare a “climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.”
They argue that people can’t talk about the climate crisis without considering the impacts of animal agriculture.
Their second demand, “Act Now”, asks the government to act to “halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.” They add that this cannot be done “without a transition to a just and sustainable plant-based food system”.
The third demand, “Beyond Politics”, calls for the creation of a “citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice”. A citizens’ assembly is a body formed to deliberate on certain issues and is made up of randomly selected citizens.
What protests have the group organised recently?
The environmental activists blocked the entrance and exit to the UK’s largest dairy factory in August this year. They erected two wooden tower structures at the entrance and exit of Arla’s factory in Aylesbury.
Around 50 protesters camped out at the site, with some “locked-on” to a van and lying in the middle of the roads in and out of the dairy plant. They were eventually removed by police officers
On Tuesday 26 October four Animal Rebellion activists scaled a Home Office building in Westminster to demand that the government defund meat and subsidise plant-based alternatives.
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