Last September, supporters of Animal Rising (formerly Animal Rebellion) disrupted the supply of milk to and from UK dairy distribution centres over the course of a week .
The group were calling on the Government to (1) support farmers in a transition to a plant-based food system and (2) rewild the freed up land to address our climate and ecological crises.
This week, five supporters of the group were on trial for their actions as part of this campaign at Arla’s distribution centre in Aylesbury.
One pleaded guilty to Aggravated Trespass on Monday, and the remaining four were found guilty of Aggravated Trespass at the end of the trial.
The defendants received conditional discharges ranging from 4-12 months, with costs ranging from £200-400 each. One defendant also received a £180 fine.
Today (12/01/24), five supporters of Animal Rising (formerly Animal Rebellion) were sentenced at High Wycombe Magistrates Court by Judge Sharma for actions taken at Arla’s Aylsebury site on 4th September of 2022.
One defendant pleaded guilty at the start of the trial on Monday, whilst the remaining four were found guilty upon its conclusion.
They each received conditional discharges ranging from 4-12 months, meaning that if they do not re-offend in that time their records will remain clear of convictions. The defendants were also ordered to pay court costs ranging from £200-400 each, and one defendant received a £180 fine on top.
One of the defendants, Vita Sleigh, a 28-year old illustrator from London, said:
“This week we stood trial with our heads held high, knowing we had done the right thing. Whatever the verdict, we were standing in defence of the animals and our environment against destructive agri-food corporations like Arla.
The science is clear: supporting farmers in a transition to a plant-based food system - and rewilding of the freed up land and ocean - is critical if we want to avoid the worst of our climate and ecological crises. And it is the only way to ensure a safe, and stable food supply for years to come. Arla, as a cooperative, has a responsibility to their farmers to lead the way in this transition.”
In 2018, comprehensive research from the University of Oxford showed that 76% of the land currently used for food production would be freed-up by a global transition to plant-based production . This land could be rewilded and begin carbon drawdown, mitigating the worst impacts of climate breakdown. A 2019 Harvard University report on UK farmland and food production from Helen Harwatt and Matthew N. Hayek also concluded that the UK would be carbon-negative if it completely transitioned to a plant-based food system .
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