Animal Rebellion activists vow to disrupt UK milk supplies | Extinction Rebellion

Vegan activists have vowed to cause massive disruption to the UK’s milk supplies this month, as they demand the government supports a transition to a “plant-based food system” and rewild land used for animal pasture.

Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion that focuses on the environmental harms of animal agriculture, claims it has hundreds of supporters willing to be arrested and go to prison for taking direct action.

The group also said it would take action at supermarkets in five UK cities on Saturday by blocking shoppers from reaching milk and dairy aisles.

In a statement, the group said “millions of consumers will be unable to buy dairy milk” once it begins taking action in the first two weeks of September.

“We have spent months trying all the proper channels to engage with the government on the scientific consensus to transition to a plant-based future, but they have chosen to ignore us,” Animal Rebellion’s statement said. “We have been left with no choice but to step into civil resistance to pressure government action to preserve our futures.

“We are announcing our intentions in advance so the British public [can] prepare for a disruption to the milk supply this September. We apologise for any stress this may cause during a cost of living crisis, but the government are sleepwalking every single one of us into poverty, misery, and climate and ecological collapse. We cannot sit by and let this happen.”

Animal Rebellion is known for its blockade-style tactics, having previously prevented access to McDonald’s distribution centres, factories and restaurants, the UK’s biggest dairy, and London’s last remaining abattoir.

So far this year, activists from the group have disrupted the trooping the colour ceremony at the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations, invaded the track at the Epsom derby horse race, and emptied milk bottles on to the floor in the food hall at Harrods department store in London.

The group says it has raised more than £40,000 to support its campaign against milk supplies, but expects to receive more donations once the actions begin.

Many of Animal Rebellion’s supporters and organisers have had key roles in other environmental campaigns, including Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the group said it was opposed to all animal agriculture but was targeting milk because it was “the weak link in the animal farming industry”. One in three households were already switching to non-dairy milks, while dairy farmers were among the most hard-pressed of all agricultural businesses, activists said. But, most importantly, milk had the shortest shelf-life of all potential targets.

Arla, the UK’s largest dairy processor, declined to comment on the threatened protests.

Dr Judith Bryans, the chief executive of Dairy UK, said: “It’s difficult to comment upfront before any events take place, but we are very disappointed at Animal Rebellion’s planned action, which could cause totally unnecessary disruption for businesses and consumers and is unhelpful during a cost of living crisis. We’d urge them to rethink their actions.”

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