Animal rights protesters aim to block Smithfield deliveries
‘Symbolic’ centre of meat industry target of group linked to Extinction Rebellion
23 August, 2019 — By Emily Finch
Animal Rebellion protesters out on the street at the weekend
ANIMAL rights activists will target Smithfield Meat Market by blocking deliveries from getting in and out of the historic market for a fortnight.
Animal Rebellion – linked to the larger civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion – say they want to “send the government a message” that farming animals for food must end to prevent climate disaster.
The market in Farringdon celebrated 150 years last year but some form of meat trading has taken place on the site since the 12th century.
All the trading takes place at night with the market winding down by 8am.
Alex Lockwood, a spokesman for Animal Rebellion, said they were “animal justice advocates” who were “taking up non-violent civil disobedience”.
He said: “Smithfield Market is the symbolic centre of the meat industry and that’s why we’re going there. It’s going to be a non-violent, peaceful protest.”
He said the meat industry has a “significant impact on the climate” and that people “must go vegan” to prevent climate catastrophe.
But he said the time had now come to “tackle the supply” of meat and added: “We are not really trying to disrupt people’s lives but we want to point out that their lives will be disrupted a thousand times more by climate change.”
They also care “deeply” about animal welfare and some of the meats sold at Smithfield, including foie gras and veal, is “cruel”, he added.
When asked if he was worried that workers on low pay at the market would be out of pocket because of his protest, Mr Lockwood said: “Our target is the government. It’s important not to just accept those criticisms. The industry there is family run but have multimillion-pound turnovers.”
The City of London – which owns and manages the site – launched a consultation to relocate the market to Dagenham in June.
Animal Rebellion’s protest starts on October 7 and will coincide with further protests by Extinction Rebellion which they say will be “huge”.
Lis Batteson, the association executive with Smithfield Market Tenants’ Association, which represents the traders, said they had “no comment” at present.