Vegan activists have held sit-ins in supermarket dairy sections across the UK, much to the disgust of customers trying to buy milk.
Members of Animal Rebellion staged the protests at high-end grocery stores in four English cities as they called for the British government to make an “urgent and immediate transition to a plant-based food system”.
In a Facebook post, the group said: “We are in a climate crisis and one of the key causes is animal farming – an industry based on cruelty and exploitation.”
It then outlined its “two simple demands”.
“Government supports farmers and fishing communities to move away from animal farming and fishing as part of an urgent and immediate transition to a plant-based food system.
“Government commits to rewild the freed-up land and ocean as part of a broader program of wildlife restoration and carbon drawdown.”
Protesters gathered in a Whole Foods store in London, and Marks & Spencer supermarkets in Southampton, Manchester and Birmingham, holding signs that read, “Plant-based future” and “Rewild our land” as they tried to stop shoppers from buying milk.
But people weren’t impressed by the group’s antics.
On Twitter user wrote: “Animal Rebellion really are a bunch of w***ers. Do you know who benefits most from the milk supply? Children. Children benefit. The reason you’re as tall as you are is because they gave you milk as a child. Shame Rebellion doesn’t rhyme with Thatcher,” referencing former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher who famously stopped free milk for schoolchildren.
Another wrote: “Now the lunatics from Animal Rebellion are blocking milk aisles in supermarkets. When will this crazed woke shenanigans stop!”
And a third said: “All these protesters will be doing is giving genuine vegans a bad name [and] may end up pushing the price of milk even further.”
But the activists were adamant a world of plant-based diets was “imperative” to curb the impact of climate change.
“This is not how I want to spend my weekend, but as the government is failing to respond to our climate, ecological and moral crises, I no longer feel I have a choice,” Max, a protester in Manchester, said.
“Earlier this summer more than 60 homes and businesses burnt down when Britain faced record-breaking temperatures and now one-third of Pakistan is underwater from extreme climate-induced flooding.
“A plant-based future is imperative to significantly reduce our environmental impact,” he said.
And Robert Gordon, who protested in London, said: “With this sit-in today, we are making a clear statement that only a plant-based food system can alleviate the threat posed by climate breakdown.
“The minor inconvenience caused by our actions pales in comparison to the consequences of climate breakdown which is already happening globally.”
Month of action planned
Animal Rebellion has pledged a month of action to “stop the supply” of dairy during September.
“A bottle of cows’ milk is representative of everything wrong with our food system,” the group said in a Facebook post. “From animal exploitation to environmental degradation, it is a cruel, inefficient and unnecessary product.
“It’s time to stop the supply of dairy. We can’t let this continue any longer – not when the answer is so simple – a #PlantBasedFuture.”
Activists known for pulling stunts
Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, is known for staging stunts such as this to get its message across.
In July, members of the group emptied milk across the floor of London Harrods during the Queen’s Jubilee.
Meanwhile in June, they stormed the racecourse during the famous Epsom Derby calling for an end to “cruelty and harm” in the horseracing industry.
And in March they spray-painted the headquarters of UK fishing organisation Marine Stewardship Council blood red, calling for an end to “ocean destruction”.