'Meat is murder': Hundreds of people protest against animal cruelty in London

28 August 2021, 17:01 | Updated: 28 August 2021, 17:26

By Sophie Barnett

A group of activists from Animal Rebellion have gathered in central London to campaign against animal cruelty as part of Extinction Rebellion's two weeks of protests.

The group, which is an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, began protesting at Smithfield Market in Farringdon on Saturday morning, delivering speeches before parading through the city.

They have now returned to Smithfield Market, gathering both inside and outside, with police at the scene saying around 600 people have joined in the march.

A rally is being held inside the market, where speeches are being made to encourage people to do more to support animal rights.

During their parade of the city demonstrators stopped outside the Marine Stewardship Council offices in Snow Hill, where they held up a large structure of an octopus and banners which read "Ocean Rebellion" and "MSC sustainable fishing is a lie".

Read more: Buckingham Palace memorial vandalised amid London protests

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Animal Rebellion protesters at Smithfield market, taking part in an Animal Rights March, as part of Extinction Rebellion's UK Rebellion.
Animal Rebellion protesters at Smithfield market, taking part in an Animal Rights March, as part of Extinction Rebellion's UK Rebellion. Picture: Alamy

Campaigners then held a sit-in outside the offices and had a moment's silence for aquatic animals.

One speaker, known only as Tim, told the crowd: "We are outside Cargill today, a company, in good part, behind a massive expansion of broiler units and animal slaughter across Herefordshire and Shropshire, making those counties the capital of chicken abuse."

The group then moved on from the Cargill offices and looped round New Change, near St Paul's Cathedral.

They held signs which read 'meat is murder' and 'live vegan and let live' as they headed to the London offices of food company Unilever.

Read more: XR co-founder: Westminster 'doesn't seem capable' of tackling climate change

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The event was held in conjunction with Camp Beagle, a protest group calling for the release of beagle dogs at MBR Acres in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, which rears dogs specifically for animal research.

The campaigners stopped traffic and were escorted by hundreds of police officers during the protest.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it has arrested 305 people during the protests since Sunday, with more demonstrators seen being escorted by officers today. 

On Thursday, a member of Animal Rebellion vandalised the Victoria Memorial, which stands in front of Buckingham Palace.

It was covered in red paint and had a sign which said: "Hunting: A Royal Bloodbath".

The protest at Smithfield Market.
The protest at Smithfield Market. Picture: Alamy

Members also blocked the junction at Oxford Circus on Wednesday afternoon before being ordered to leave by police.

The order was issued under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, following concerns the demonstration may result in "serious disruption to the life of the community".

Officers said there were around 76 protesters locked on in the middle of the junction, who in spite of direction to move, had "refused to do so".

Protests by Extinction Rebellion are planned to continue in London over the next week.

The group’s website says that the march is a united action against the "state that’s killing our Earth".