Animal Rebellion activists slammed over ‘milk pour’ protests in supermarkets including Harrods, Waitrose & M&S

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Their action has been condemned by many people but the group said they didn’t have a choice to get the government to listen.

Animal Rebellion protestors have earned the wrath of the public after pouring milk onto the floor in high-end shops across the country on Saturday (October 15) amid ongoing cost of living crisis that plunged many into poverty in their attempt to create a ‘plant-based future’.

The animal activists coordinated the action in five supermarket locations in London that include Waitrose, Whole Foods, Harrods, and Marks and Spencer along with other stores in Manchester, Norwich and Edinburgh just before 12pm.

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The action, which was filmed and has now gone viral on social media, shows several protesters pouring milk from the shelves in the Norwich Marks and Spencer in front of horrified shoppers. Norwich Police confirmed that four people had been arrested for offences of assault and criminal damage.

In Knightbridge, one group of protestors poured milk into Harrods’ food hall, while another was seen pouring milk bottles onto the floor and onto a cheese-laden table in Piccadilly’s Fortnum and Mason. The activists said that they are advocating for a plant-based future and stressing the importance of assisting farmers in transitioning to a sustainable plant-based food system.

Handout photo issued by Animal Rebellion of supporters of Animal Rebellion pouring out milk in a Waitrose in Edinburgh. Issue date: Saturday October 15, 2022.Handout photo issued by Animal Rebellion of supporters of Animal Rebellion pouring out milk in a Waitrose in Edinburgh. Issue date: Saturday October 15, 2022.
Handout photo issued by Animal Rebellion of supporters of Animal Rebellion pouring out milk in a Waitrose in Edinburgh. Issue date: Saturday October 15, 2022.

‘They should have to pay for it’

One of their videos, which was posted on their Twitter page, has so far received 12.3 million views with many calling out the activists for the ‘massive wastage’ where it could have gone to those in need. Some even said they should ‘pay for it’. One said: “Acting as if there isn’t a cost of living crisis going on and families are struggling to get by whilst they pour milk all over the floor. They should have to pay for it.”

Another said: “I’ve been vegan for eight years now and mortified by this. Waitrose will now have to order yet more dairy milk to replace it. So that’s more harm done. And as a shop worker, I would be one of the people who had to come and clean this up. #NotInMyName.”

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A man commented that their action would not get people to support their cause. He said: “While food banks proliferate and people are plunged into poverty, this is the best you can do? You’d get people on your side by donating plant-based meals to people in real need.” One said: “If anything, this sets the vegan cause back years.”

One man however said he understood the drastic action taken by the group. He said: “I think their point is that there’d be far fewer people without food if land wasn’t all being used to provide food and dairy in the western world. The amount of land required for livestock is insane, causing deforestation and starvation.”

‘We don’t have a choice’

In an interview later with LBC, Animal Rebellion spokesperson Robert Gordon said: "Right wing commentators would have you believe we picked these supermarkets because it’s all we know, because it’s where mummy and daddy took us as kids.

"In reality, we’re just a group of really concerned individuals who have carefully picked these high-end shops because we acknowledge that when we take action. There’s an inevitable level of disruption that will be caused - and we really didn’t want to be disrupting those who are suffering most in the cost of living crisis.

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"We picked the Fortnum & Masons, the Selfridges, the M&Ss and we’re sorry for those people who did get caught in that disruption…Frankly, at this point, we don’t have a choice."

In a statement, another spokesperson for the group, Nathan McGovern said: “We understand that the actions have divided opinion, and fully shoulder the responsbility for them.

“Yet, they have resulted in a massive, critical, discussion about the importance of transitioning to a plant-based food system and following the advice coming out of Oxford and Harvard Universities. We urgently need our government to step up and act on the climate and cost-of-living crisis, until then individuals will be stepping up into peaceful civil resistance.”

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