Darlington (May 28, 2022) — At 4am this morning, animal rights activists climbed the roof of the flagship National Beef Association.

Darlington (May 28, 2022) At 4am this morning, animal rights activists climbed the roof of the flagship National Beef Association (NBA) 2022 Expo [1] with 15 metre banners and say they plan on staying up there indefinitely due to farmed animal suffering and environmental concerns. The industry event, hosted at Darlington Farmers Auction Mart (DFAM), is the largest of its kind in the UK - with industry leaders, DEFRA representatives and 5,000 beef farmers expected to attend over the weekend [2, 3].

Animal Justice Project is calling for an end to animal agriculture due to a 'violation of animal rights'. Photo: Animal Justice Project  

A spokesperson for Animal Justice Project [4] on the ground, alongside several dozen protestors holding placards and banners, said that the activists had scaled the building in the early hours of this morning: “Climbers have been up there for hours and are determined to stay there to make their message heard. They have been assaulted by farmers who used a JCB digger to reach them umbrellas, drinking water and metallic blankets to keep cool”. The banners, which can be seen from the air and by event attendees as they enter the livestock auction, read ‘end animal agriculture’ and ‘farming violates the rights of animals’.

The stunt has caused chaos at the event and one activist has been taken to hospital with a suspected broken finger having been assaulted by farmers on the roof. Police are present on the scene but no arrests have been made. The spokesperson is unrelenting, saying their aim “is not to be popular, but to advocate for the rights of animals". "Our message" he says "to the agricultural sector, is that there is no future in animal farming”. Animal Justice Project is calling for an end to animal agriculture due to “years of undercover investigations on British farms illustrating the routine and systematic exploitation of animals, alongside a history of the industry and government not just turning a blind eye to breaches of legislation but continuing to plough public money into funding it.” Activists also cite environmental concerns and the fact that, according to the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations), farmed animals are responsible for 14.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions [5].

DFAM is said to be a ‘state-of-the-art’ livestock auction [3], trading in over 250,000 calves, sheep, horses and cows a year [6] which, the group say, is poignant as it “highlights the farming industry’s gross commodification of animals”.

The event, hosted by the National Beef Association (NBA) is touted as a celebration of the ‘best in British’ and claims to be the ‘largest technical beef event in the UK’ [7]. Speakers at the event include the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, Labour MP, Daniel Zeichner, and the Head of Agricultural Sectors at DEFRA [2].

IMAGES OF STUNT: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzRMCw

WATCH THE VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/714685993

Animal Justice Project says: “Today we send a clear message to the agriculture industry, at a poignant site where hundreds of thousands of animals are bought and sold each year like commodities, that animals have rights and current farming practices infringe on these day in, day out within the dairy, meat and egg industries. A staggering 1.2 billion animals are killed in this country each year [8] and our investigations, along with many others, highlight the gross pain and suffering that these animals go through. Today is not a celebration of the 'Best of British', but a farming event that glorifies the exploitation and killing of animals - an industry that has yet to be held accountable. This is fundamentally wrong and unjust. The urgency of this situation for animals is made even more grave bearing in mind that animal agriculture is the primary driver of climate change. Animal agriculture has no future and we are here to show that events such as today must not continue without being challenged. There is no future in animal agriculture. The future is vegan.”
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