Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rebellion: The Highlights

Animal Rebellion occupying Smithfield Market, 7th October 2019

In solidarity, Extinction Rebellion (XR) and its off-shoot group Animal Rebellion (AR) brought London to a standstill in the last few weeks. ‘Rebels’ disrupted and occupied all forms of public life, including the tube, roads and businesses. Fighting for climate justice, they campaign for ‘system change, not climate change’, urging the government to take immediate action to alleviate the climate crisis. Using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience, they advocate for the formation of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. Similarly to XR, Animal Rebellion advocate for a Citizens’ Assembly but also urge for transition in our diet to a plant-based food system. As proven by Dr. Joseph Poore, animal agriculture is the ‘single biggest’ factor contributing to climate change. For the sake of the environment and for the animals, I felt a sense of duty to get involved. 

Here is what happened:

Monday 7th October: Animal Rebellion Occupy Smithfield Market

The week began with Animal Rebellion occupying Smithfield’s, the notorious meat market. From 5pm, myself along with four hundred other activists occupied the market. The group set up mock stalls selling fruits and vegetables to imitate their vision for the future of Smithfield’s. They also dropped a banner which read ‘Smithfield Fruit and Vegetable Market, With you from the October 7th 2025, Welcome!’. The market was adorned with banners which read ‘Mary had a little lamb. She still plays with her’ and ‘Swap your meats for beets’. Speeches were made from individuals including George Monbiot, Chris Packham and Dominic Dyer, who all echo the values of AR. 

Here are just two extracts…

 ‘Livestock grazing occupies twice as much land as all other food production put together yet produces 1.2% of the world’s protein. This is the most amazingly wasteful use of land you could imagine. Livestock farming is the primary cause of the loss of habitats and wildlife on earth. Even if we swapped all the grain fed meat for pasture meat, we would probably need twelve planets. It’s what very rich people can do because other people aren’t doing it. We need an economy that nurtures us, and an economy that nurtures the other life forms which we are lucky enough to share this world with’.

George Monbiot, writer for environmental and political activism

 ‘The values expressed here… are our only hope to make this place slightly more sustainable. There is no ambiguity at all that we need to be moving towards a plant-based diet. There are people out there who work steadfastly hard and with enormous endeavour to allow us to make a difference. Our decision makers are not making that decision, as a consequence we have to ask them to do it for us’

Chris Packham, Naturalist, BBC Presenter

Tuesday 8th October: Extinction Rebellion activists glue themselves to the Department for Transport and the Lobby of the Home Office

Wednesday 9th October: Extinction Rebellion activists disrupt and occupy London City Airport, around fifty activists were arrested.

Thursday 10th October: Animal Rebellion Occupy the of London Offices of Carval Investors

On Thursday, Animal Rebellion occupied the offices of Cargill- backed investment company Carval. In 1987, Carval was established by Cargill, one of the world’s largest meat producers. They facilitate and distribute grain, the raising of livestock and feed. They are one of the greatest contributors to climate change and deforestation.

‘We are here today at the Carval London Offices to demand change in Cargill’s corporation action… Cargill and its partner Carval have been pointed at as the worst company in the world, because of their ecocidal work [being] the main climate change contributor on the entire planet. They’re [responsible for] human right abuses, child labour, mass food contamination and water pollution. They have actively lobbied against forest conservation programmes in Brazil. We are here to demand change from your corporation.’

Luca Padalini, from ‘That Vegan Couple’

Monday 14th October: Police issues a statement banning protests in London

Wednesday 16th October: Animal Rebellion activists occupy and disrupt Newman’s Abattoir, in Farnborough 

Thursday 17th October: Two activists from Extinction Rebellion mounted the roofs of train at various London tube stations.

Thursday 17th October: Animal Rebellion activists demonstrate outside Red Tractor

One of the final actions by Animal Rebellion took place outside the London offices of Red Tractor. They are the ‘UK’s largest food standards scheme, covering all the areas you care about – animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection’. However, several investigations into Red Tractor approved farms have exposed a very different reality of ‘feeding ignorance’. A Viva! An investigation found pigs were crammed into tiny filthy pens, with no food or fresh water, which lead to cannibalism. Dead and dying pigs were found rotting, discarded in abandoned gangways or tossed into wheelbarrows. Workers were also caught swinging piglets against a wall by their legs, and larger pigs were shocked with an electric rod to force them onto trucks to slaughter. These so-called Red Tractor ‘approved’ farms are clearly in breach of animal welfare standards. In alliance with Animal Rebellion, we want to expose this reality to the public and to the government. We demand they expose the truth to their consumers and stop the propaganda. Nothing humane happens in a slaughterhouse.


1 thought on “Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rebellion: The Highlights

  1. It’s absolutely disgusting the way that these people have treated these animals (even if they’re dead that doesn’t condone that level of disrespect).
    Do you agree with the ways and lengths XR and AR are going to raise awareness of these issues? I’ve seen so much negative press about XR in recent weeks. Personally, I think this attention is needed to raise awareness but I can understand why people would be critical towards these groups.

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