Animal rights activists will stage mass protest at UK’s biggest meat market in October

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Dilapidated buildings at Smithfield Market in London, England, United Kingdom. Smithfield Market, a Grade II listed-covered market building, was designed by Victorian architect Sir Horace Jones. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images Images)

Animal rights activists say they will occupy the UK’s biggest wholesale meat market in a bid to bring an end to livestock farming.

The Animal Rebellion group said 10,000 activists would occupy Smithfield Market, which covers 4ha in the City of London, on Monday 7 October.

The group, part of the Extinction Rebellion that brought London to a standstill with a spate of demonstrations across the city, made the announcement on Friday.

Animal rights protester march from Anchillies corner in Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday Aug 17th, 2019 (Photo by Karyn Louise/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The group draped a banner over one of the market buildings.

It said the protest would take place as “part of a wider rebellion against the government for failing to act on the climate emergency”.

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Pledging that its protest would be peaceful, the group said it recognised that it would cause inconvenience.

They continued: “We are in a climate change emergency and animals are dying.”

“We will treat police, farmers and butchers with love and respect at all times.

TRAFALGAR SQUARE, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/17: Activists hold a banner saying Animals rebellion during the protest in London. Animal rights activists marched in central London to protest against animal cruelty and also to demand an end on fishing, animal farming and animal experiments. (Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“We may be met with anger or aggression, but we will remain non-violent at all times, in our words, in our tone and in our actions.

“At times this may be hard, but we will support each other to act with kindness to all.

“We will do this at a time when Extinction Rebellion and other social movements will be occupying London and demanding the government take urgent action on the climate crisis.

Animal rights protester march from Anchillies corner in Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday Aug 17th, 2019 (Photo by Karyn Louise/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“We aim to draw attention to the harms caused by the agricultural system as a whole, of which Smithfield is a part.”

But farm leaders say that British farmers lead the way in climate-friendly food, animal welfare and environmental protection.

The IPCC’s Debra Roberts said: “Balanced diets featuring plant-based foods … and animal-sourced food produced sustainably in low greenhouse gas emission systems, present major opportunities for adaptation to and limiting climate change.”