Climate activists blockade Arla's factory in Aylesbury

The protest closed the A41 earlier today (Tuesday)

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 3:35 pm

Climate activists from Animal Rebellion have blockaded Arla’s factory in Aylesbury.

In the early hours of this morning (Tuesday), 50 protestors occupied the distribution centre of Arla Foods, the largest dairy factory in the UK.

Thirty activists were locked onto bamboo structures and concrete barricades.

Climate activists blockade Arla's factory in Aylesbury (C) Andrea Domeniconi

Thames Valley Police put a road closure in place on the A41 earlier today to manage traffic and minimise disruption to the local community and businesses.

The road closure has since been lifted, police say it was put in place to manage the safety of those on the road and also to avoid people from becoming trapped after the site access was blocked by protestors.

The factory provides 10 per cent of the milk supply for the UK with 150 vehicles delivering raw milk each day and 1.1 billion litres being produced every year.

Animal Rebellion are calling on Arla to transition to plant-based production by 2025 to address the catastrophic impacts dairy production has on the climate and animals.

Animal Rebellion are calling on Arla to transition to plant-based production by 2025

Protestors have stated they plan to continue blockading the factory until Arla makes a commitment to end dairy production and fund a just transition for its workers.

James Ozden, a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion, said: “The recent IPCC report issued a code red warning on the impacts of the climate crisis.

"It spoke of a need for urgent action from our government to address carbon emissions, including methane which is in large part a byproduct of animal farming.

"Companies like Arla claim to be leading the way in tackling the climate crisis, yet until these big multinationals start to talk seriously about the inevitable need to transition our food system to one that is plant-based, their words are empty.

Protestors from Animal Rebellion blockade Arla's factory in Aylesbury(C) Andrea Domeniconi

“Arla say they're pro-worker but lobby for supermarket contracts that sell milk for less than water.

"We’re not just demanding that Arla go plant-based by 2025, we’re demanding that the government supports companies like Arla by funding a just transition for workers in meat and dairy industries to just and sustainable alternatives.”

A spokesperson for Arla said: “As a cooperative owned by farmers we are committed to producing dairy for the UK in the most sustainable way possible.

"We already make raw milk with around half the average emissions of dairy globally and intend to be carbon net zero by 2050.

"We are working with the police to limit the impact of this demonstration to both our customers and those living locally to the site.

"We have managed to complete our morning shift change over and all colleagues are safe, however, access to the site for our larger vehicles is being blocked. We are working to manage the impact of this.”

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police, said: “Thames Valley Police officers are at the site of a protest outside the Arla dairy in Aylesbury.

“At 5.17am this morning reports were received that a number of protestors had gathered and blocked the entrance to the dairy. Officers attended the scene within minutes.

“A road closure has been put in place on the A41 to manage traffic and minimise disruption to the local community and businesses. We would advise people to avoid the area and find alternate routes. The road closure maybe in place for some time.

“Officers are on scene and are liaising with the landowner, and those who have gathered to protest, and will be working to return normality to the site as soon as possible.

“The safety of everyone is a priority for the Force.

“Thames Valley Police strives to facilitate the rights of the public to protest and demonstrate peacefully, alongside the rights of others to conduct their lawful business.

“Where there is evidence of criminality or direct action to disrupt lawful activity we will look to remove and if necessary arrest anyone believed to be engaged in such activity.”

James Ozden is at the protest in Aylesbury today, he said: "They have removed one person from the bamboo structure, and there are a lot of police here, about 30-40. People are being arrested.

"I think what we have done here today is important, we have made a stand.

"We have raised awareness, and in general people have been supportive.

"I think it has been quite positive."

Protest removal teams are now on site and will be working to return the site to normal.