Animal Rebellion return for first post-pandemic protest

XR offshoot Animal Rebellion Bristol will protest in the city centre on Saturday (June 4), their first public demo since the pandemic. 

The protest will begin outside Barclays in Broadmead at 10.30am before marching through the city centre with the XR Samba Band and speaking to members of the public about the links between the meat and dairy industry and climate breakdown. 

Animal Rebellion Bristol say that transitioning away from animal agriculture is essential in the face of mass extinction and climate breakdown. 

They go on to say that Saturday’s protest will be the first action in what they hope to be a return to pre-pandemic levels of disruption and civil disobedience. In the past the group has gained notoriety for its sit-in protests at McDonald’s and a blockade of a McDonald’s distribution centre last year. 

Animal Rebellion UK is demanding that the UK government stop subsidising the meat and dairy industries. Animal Rebellion Bristol is demanding that Bristol City Council work with ProVeg to switch to plant-based food. ProVeg is a non-profit organisation that works with local authorities and school caterers to increase the health and sustainability of school food through advice, recipes, and plant-based cooking workshops.

The group will be joined on Saturday by Plant Based Treaty, a grassroots campaign to create a companion to the Paris Climate Agreement calling on governments to prioritise food security by transitioning towards plant-based diets. 

Read more about vegan activism in Bristol here.

The Plant Based Treaty would see member states agree to an immediate prohibition on new animal farms and land use change to enable new farms, promote healthy, plant-based diets for all and make food security a national priority, and finally to restore lands degraded by animal agriculture. 

Why is animal agriculture an issue?

Animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 10% of UK greenhouse emissions and 30% of offshored emissions.

But our obsession with meat is unsustainable in other ways too.

The explosion in animal agriculture in recent decades has come at the expense of other species. Domestic livestock now make up 60% of the biomass of all mammal life of earth, with humans another 36%. 

All those cows, pigs and sheep need space and the creation of pasture land for animal agriculture results in biodiversity loss as habitats like forests are cleared. A quarter of animal and plant species are already under threat from extinction, and around 1 million more face extinction within the next few decades. 

Yet even as our food system becomes more globalised, the diversity of the food we eat has shrunk. Today just four crops – rice, corn, wheat and soy – make up the majority of our calories, making our food system much more vulnerable to shocks, like the Ukraine war. 

A 2021 report from policy institute Chatham House into biodiversity loss recommended, amongst other things, that governments around the world promote plant-based diets to reduce food demand and the pressures of animal agriculture on the planet. 

The report also found that inaction is ‘economically irrational’ since the costs of transforming the food system are outweighed by the costs to the planet of our unsustainable food system. 

Find full details at the Facebook event.

Feature image: Animal Rebellion Bristol.

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