New animal justice movement Animal Rebellion launched at this year’s Official Animal Rights March on Saturday, August 17th by announcing its plans to occupy Smithfield Market this October. Smithfield is London’s oldest and largest meat distribution market.
“We know that our current food system is unsustainable and destroying the planet. We also believe it is immoral, based as it is on the unjust treatment of animals – sentient beings who deserve life. We expect people to be angry that we are challenging their comfortable and ‘normal’ way of life around what they eat. But unfortunately, drastic times call for drastic measures if we are to have any hope of limiting the ravages of climate change,” says Alex Lockwood, the spokesperson for Animal Rebellion and academic author of The Pig in Thin Air.
“We’re sorry in advance for the disruption this causes.”
Animal Rebellion took to the streets last month, in partnership with Surge, organizers of The Official Animal Rights March, and shut down Trafalgar Square. This served as a dry run for their occupation of Smithfield Market and its meat provision to London’s restaurant trade.
Animal Rebellion is mobilizing over 10,000 animal justice and environmental activists to take to the streets in central London for the two-week October action that includes overnight blockades of the market.
Inspired by Extinction Rebellion’s success and working alongside XR local and national groups, Animal Rebellion is a movement founded to place animal justice at the center of calls to counter the climate crisis. Animal Rebellion believes targeting sites of animal exploitation and meat production to be an urgent next step in the fight to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.
Dan Kidby, coordinator and spokesperson for Animal Rebellion, said: "Animal Rebellion's message to the public, policy-makers, and the future Citizen's Assembly is that we need to urgently end the industries of animal farming and fishing, and transition to a plant-based food system in order to avert climate breakdown, mass extinction and ensure justice for farmed animals."
Animal Rebellion joins Extinction Rebellion’s call for the government to bring about systemic social change, and to engage civil resistance to communicate the urgency of ending the animal agriculture and fishing industries, and of transitioning to a plant-based food system to reduce greenhouse emissions to net-zero by 2025.
“This is such an important development for animals and our planet. Seeing Animal Rebellion advocate for animals in this way, and coming together with Extinction Rebellion, is inspiring and just shows how things are moving in the right direction,” says Peter Egan, the prominent advocate for animals and actor in Downton Abbey, Unforgotten, Hold the Sunset, and A Perfect Spy.
“Too many people still believe that animals are happy to end up on our plates, and are unaware of the incredible suffering that takes place in the meat, dairy and fishing industries. It is right that people are taking part in mass protests to bring these issues to light, and the links with the climate emergency just make this even more urgent. People are not willing to sit by and watch the crisis unfold. It’s time for our government to take climate and animal protection seriously.”
Animal Rebellion expects resistance to their planned October blockade of Smithfield’s but is committed to nonviolent civil disobedience, using techniques drawn from the Civil Rights Movement, the Suffragettes, and Extinction Rebellion, as a way to bring about necessary change.
Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, said: "October is the next big rebellion against the British government for the criminal inactivity on the climate emergency and ecological collapse.”
Ed Winters (also known as Earthling Ed), the co-founder of Surge, said:
"It fills me with so much hope and optimism about what we are going to achieve in October, which will be an incredibly historic moment of societal and systemic change of people coming together from different groups.”
which will be an incredibly historic moment of societal and systemic change of people coming
together from different groups.”