The campaign to expose the harmful, violent, and destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

‘COP-OUT26’ DISPATCH: Animal rights protesters scale UK government building, demand an end to animal farm subsidies

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We are asking is for the UK Government to stop subsidising animal agriculture (dairy and meat) and take drastic action in transitioning to a plant-based food system as the science tells us we need to.

MARK DUELL: Four animal rights activists rested on hammocks… seven hours after scaling the Defra and Home Office building in London as they demanded ‘government support for a plant-based food system’ at Cop26. The campaigners from Animal Rebellion climbed up the structure on Marsham Street in Westminster, which houses both Government departments, before dawn at about 6am – and were still attached to it by 1pm [see AR Press Release]… The group, which was founded in July 2019, said it would continue to take action until the Government ‘defunds meat and subsidises a plant-based transition’ – and the protesters threatened to stay on the building ‘for weeks’.

Police, firefighters and paramedics were all at the scene shortly after the demonstration began in the dark, and the protesters – who were all wearing climbing equipment – then dropped a banner over the entrance. The entrance was cordoned off, with a small group of activists on the ground watching their fellow protesters who lit red flares… One of the activists, who gave his name as James, said he was prepared to stay roped to the building ‘for weeks’. He added that he and the others had hammocks that they would use to sleep in overnight and prolong the protest…

James, 24, a researcher, told MailOnline: ‘We are not moving until we have some response from the Government with a meaningful conversation about the end of meat and dairy farming and a plant based food system. ‘We all have hammocks to sleep in and will be here indefinitely – unless the police remove us by force. It could be days or weeks. The fire brigade came by this morning and checked that we were all safe and left…. James, from London, said all four of the activists were experienced rock climbers familiar with the safety equipment needed to secure themselves to the building.

Speaking from his mobile phone, he added: ‘It was quite strenuous and took two hours to get up here and secure the banner. We have taken all the necessary safety precautions and as well as the hammocks we have food provisions and sanitary means in place. We will stay here as long as it takes, and if that means days or weeks so be it. We are in a climate emergency and we have to take action now.’ Asked why he was being a public nuisance, James also told GB News today: ‘We’re not being a public nuisance, the UK Government are being a public nuisance by spending £1.5billion of taxpayer money on subsidies on the meat and dairy industry’…

Activist Claudia Penna Rojas said: ‘We are here in the lead-up to Cop26 demanding that the Government takes drastic action by transitioning to a plant-based food system as the science tells us we need to.’ She acknowledged that ‘not everyone will be willing to give up meat immediately’ but ‘what we are asking is for the Government to be responsible, to stop subsidising animal agriculture – dairy, meat – and begin subsidising more ethical, sustainable ways of farming’. The large yellow sign read: ‘Cop: Invest in a plant-based future’, while another activist stood in front of the building holding a placard saying: ‘Defund meat’…

Animal Rebellion spokesman Haley McDonald-Eckersall said the group wanted to Government to stop subsiding meat and dairy farmers and instead switch all production to plant based foods. She said the group recently held a march where 7,000 people turned up to show their support. Ms McDonald-Eckersall said: ‘We have to move forward with a more sustainable method of food production and we have to have it implemented now. This is all tied to the climate emergency and the Government has to sit up and listen. ‘The money that is spent on subsidising meat and dairy farmers should be spent on sustainable plant-based foods’…

Ms McDonald-Eckersall said the group – which last staged a demonstration at a McDonald’s restaurant in Cornwall during the G7 conference – would continue with their stunts and said members would be heading to Glasgow for the Cop26 conference where world leaders will set out their aims for tackling climate change… She added: ‘We have to get our message across to the leaders at the Cop26 conference. There will be other actions like this one. We are all prepared to go to jail if need be’…

An Animal Rebellion spokesman tweeted: ‘Animal Rebellion protestors have scaled Defra, demanding government support for a plant-based food system at Cop26… ‘The protestors have said that they will take action until the government defunds meat and subsidises a plant-based transition. ‘Meat and dairy is one of the leading producers of greenhouse gases and causes 90 per cent of Amazon deforestation. ‘World leaders at cannot talk about meeting the Paris climate targets and securing global net zero without addressing that our food system is destroying our planet’…

Scotland Yard responded… to criticism that is officers were ‘just stood watching’ the protesters. stating: ‘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. ‘Our primary concern is the safety of everyone involved, our officers and those protesting. If there was a fall this could result in serious injury. SOURCE…

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