Animal Rebellion activists scale UK government building in Cop26 protest

They say they want meat and dairy farm subsidies to end

Animal Rebellion activists have scaled a government building in central London in a protest against meat and dairy farming.

Four protesters from the group used ladders, ropes and harnesses to climb the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) office as high as 20 metres at around 6am on Tuesday.

They then unfurled a yellow banner which said: “Cop26: Invest in a plant-based future.”

The controversial group is demanding an end to subsidies for meat and dairy farming in a protest against climate change.

It comes after Insulate Britain, another offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, brought roads to a standstill in the capital on Monday.

The environmental campaigners who have scaled a Government building in Westminster say they plan to stay there “indefinitely”.

They plan to stay in place until Boris Johnson pledges to urge all world leaders to also end such subsidies when they attend the Cop26 summit next week.

Police are at the scene with the fire service and are liaising with the protesters, although no arrests have been made.

Animal Rebellion spokesman Nathan McGovern said: “Our protesters climbed the building in the early hours of this morning to send a clear message that we want an end to support for animal agriculture, which is killing our planet.

“The four, who are around 10 to 20 metres high, have unveiled a banner saying ‘Cop26: Invest in a plant-based future’.

“We will see what the situation with the police is, but the plan is to stay in place indefinitely and this will remain a peaceful protest.”

The entrance to the Defra office was cordoned off by police, with a small group of activists on the ground watching fellow protesters pose with their banner on the front face of the building.

Activist Claudia Penna Rojas told the PA news agency: “We are here in the lead-up to Cop26 demanding that the government takes drastic action by transitioning to a plant-based food system as the science tells us we need to.

She acknowledged that “not everyone will be willing to give up meat immediately” but said: “What we are asking is for the government to be responsible, to stop subsidising animal agriculture — dairy, meat — and begin subsidising more ethical, sustainable ways of farming.”

The Metropolitan Police said on Twitter: “Shortly after 6am we were alerted to a small group of protesters climbing the outside of a government building in Marsham Street to access the roof.

“Officers are on scene with the London Fire Brigade and are engaging with the protesters. As yet, there have been no arrests.”

Updated: October 26th 2021, 4:20 PM