Animal rights demonstrators have scaled the walls of a Government building in Westminster as they made their demands for the whole of the UK to switch to a plant-based diet.
The activists, from the group Animal Rebellion climbed up the outside of the DEFRA building in Marsham Street – which also houses the Home Office – and hung a banner requesting that world leaders attending COP26 should ‘invest in a plant-based future’.
The group has said it intends to remain on the building until Boris Johnson pledges to cut taxpayer support for animal agriculture.
Just who are Animal Rebellion? Here’s what you need to know…
Who are Animal Rebellion?
Animal Rebellion is an animal and climate justice movement which was founded in London in 2019.
The group aims to use non-violent civil disobedience methods to compel government action towards a plant-based food system – citing the impact animal agriculture has on species extinction, climate change and the breakdown of the ecosystem.
They say on their website their aim is ‘creating a world that protects beings of all species, for generations to come’.
According to Animal Rebellion and Greenpeace, the UK Government spends at least £1.5billion per year subsidising livestock farming.
This is around half of its agricultural subsidies and ten times the country’s annual budget for planting trees.
Despite a huge rise in demand for plant-based proteins, the UK has only committed £90million in research and development for this sector, Animal Rebellion says.
It challenges the nation’s meat consumption, stating: ‘Our current appetite for meat is unsustainable. Plant-based proteins produce 70 times less greenhouse gas emissions than an equivalent amount of beef, and use 150 times less land.’
Is Animal Rebellion part of Extinction Rebellion?
The group is not the same as Extinction Rebellion – but it is a sister organisation, having signed up to that group’s Movement of Movements strategy, which formed part of its International Rebellion campaign in October 2019.
Calling themselves ‘separate and autonomous, but working together as rebels’, Animal Rebellion explained why they signed up on their website, saying: ‘We know that time is running out and that if we don’t come together as a unified force, right now in this moment, then all that we love and all that we have worked for will be lost.
The Movement of Movements strategy saw a range of groups putting aside their differences in order to take to the streets in a call for immediate action on the climate and ecological emergency.
Animal Rebellion conducted a wave of protests in parallel to those being staged by Extinction Rebellion in October 2019 – targeting DEFRA, the German Ministry Of Food and Agriculture, Billingsgate Fish Market and Smithfield Meat Market.
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