Animal Rebellion’s major plans in the UK

Yvonne O'Halloran

As a summer of accelerating climate activism is well underway, Extinction Rebellion’s vegan outgroup, Animal Rebellion, are set to start dramatically interfering with the UK dairy industry.

Animal Rebellion “declared” themselves “in open rebellion against the UK government” in mid-August, 2019. Their mission is to bring attention to the radical reorganisation of the food system that is deemed necessary for the sake of sustainability and food security. Their activism involves acts of non-violent civil disobedience with art, costumes and clothing that communicates their volition.

Many of their actions have been similar to that of other activist groups, including blocking roads, mass protest in city centres, spray painting central buildings, as well as giving public spaces botanical makeovers.

Since their foundations, they have also disrupted the functions of slaughterhouses, milk factories and directly targeted McDonald’s corporation.

Possibly inspired by extended interference of oil transmission by the new anti-fossil fuel group, Just Stop Oil, Animal Rebellion are now planning strategic protest actions to penalise the continuity of animal agriculture.

Come September, Animal Rebellion are planning to cause “unignorable high-level disruption” to the supply of dairy products to UK supermarkets. Stating they will require only 500 people to create said disruption over a short period of 1-2 weeks.

With supermarkets and businesses struggling to get dairy supplies across multiple days, this will be a dramatic escalation in their attempts to spread their message. At the same time, it could also be seen as a gentle approach, considering the desperate need for system change with so little time left to avoid the worst effects of climate change in accordance with the latest IPCC report. Lest we ignore that many people, animals and plants are already suffering greatly and dying due to extreme weather patterns and the demise of natural landscapes.

Upon hearing about such actions, there are a few controversies that readily jump into our minds. One being that, to interfere with the day-to-day functioning of industries and farming affects the working people of society. People argue that this sows division though nuisance and deters others from joining the movement themselves. It is also detested when livelihoods suffer at the hands of protest actions. But, if we look at the bigger picture, these industries are being run into the ground by a toxic system that is inherently unsustainable and seeks to uphold a deeply classist and unfair hierarchy.

These actions are not intended to ruin the lives of small-time farmers, shop-workers or any individual. They are acts of desperation, proportional to the desperate nature of socioeconomic and climatic problems we all face as a collective. At the heart of it, Animal Rebellion want a liveable future for us all, and that doesn’t discount those working for the dairy industry. They are asking them to join them before the system collapse gives them no other choice.

On a somewhat brighter note, a few weeks ago, Animal Rebellion saved 5 beagle puppies from a farm that breeds dogs for animal testing. Whilst the image of these 5 puppies, safe and sound, is uplifting, it is equally sickening that this action is even necessary in the 21st century. After ensuring the safety of the pups, those involved in their liberation voluntarily turned themselves in so that they can speak out in court about animal cruelty.

Article written by Aisling Geraghty- United Kingdom

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