*Originally published 27 September 2019*
Today we officially share the announcement of our second site for the Rebellion, our Garden City camp at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) in Westminster.
Below we talk about the important way our linked actions at the two main sites, ‘The Garden City’ at Defra and our ‘Vision for the Future’ at Smithfield, work together to send a powerful message to government. We need government to #TellTheTruth and #ActNow on the climate, ecological and animal emergencies. And we need you to deliver this message.
Below we also give you all the key information you need to know for arriving on Monday 7th, then for the first 36 hours at Smithfield, and then for setting up our Garden City. Read on so you can come and join the most rebellious and transformational experience in our movement’s history!
THE GARDEN CITY: OUR SPACE IN THE MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS
The Movement of Movements — also known as The Rebel Alliance — includes people from across society: teachers, faith communities, schoolchildren, international solidarity communities, peace groups, women’s groups, youth groups, and disability groups… the list goes on. Just look at these doctors glueing themselves to government buildings!
Animal Rebellion is part of that community, and we are proud to stand alongside Extinction Rebellion and all of these sister groups in Westminster, to be together in great numbers, and to focus the world’s attention on government inaction on the climate emergency.
That’s why we’ve chosen Defra as our second site. This government department is responsible for our food and farming industry; it’s also responsible for the badger cull.
This is the site that holds the key to our plant-based future. On rural grants, agricultural subsidies, products like foie gras brought into this country, and live exports of animals… all these are ruled upon by Defra. And, of course, climate change advice to local councils and the protection of our environment.
But Defra has failed to safeguard our food, failed to protect farmers and are failing to build a sustainable food industry, one that serves our needs, protects the environment and respects the rights of animals. They are failing us all and leading us towards climate breakdown.
And make no mistake — Defra is hugely powerful. It could be on the side of science, on the side of solutions, on the side of history. It could set greenhouse gas limits that avoid catastrophe. It could end the animal emergency. But it hasn’t. We make no apology for disrupting government and staying here for as long as it takes. It is the site where our voice must be seen and heard.
Our Garden City site will be uplifting, safe, empowering, and demanding. It is for you to shape it. We will arrive there on the afternoon and evening of Tuesday 8th October. But first…
BUT FIRST… SMITHFIELD
On Monday 7th October at 11am we will begin to gather in Russell Square, and we will welcome everyone, and make everyone feel part of our community.
After our opening speech, briefing and NVDA training, from 1.30pm we will march to Smithfield Market, where we will set up our protest and our ‘Vision for the Future’ of what this site at the heart of the UK’s meat industry could and should — must — be, as part of the immediate and just transition to a plant-based food system. We arrive and declare our Rebellion, and we claim the iconic Grand Avenue as our space to show the world our vision of a just and sustainable future.
And we have some news…
Through peaceful, respectful dialogue, we can announce that we have convinced Smithfield Market, the Corporation of London, and the City of London Police, to give us this space so we can share our vision with the world. This is not the usual message that the right-wing media wants to tell about us: that it’s always “those angry animal justice activists vs. farmers and butchers” or that “we want to stop ordinary people earning a living”.
In fact, it is the opposite.
This is the story now: that our vision for the future is so compelling, so necessary, so inevitable, that Europe’s biggest and oldest meat market has been convinced to let us share it with the world from the very centre of their business, the iconic Grand Avenue.
And we have some other news…
Around 4 or 5pm, when we have set up this joyous, colourful, healthy, sustainable and plant-based vision, the incredible writer and activist George Monbiot will ‘cut the ribbon’ on our ‘Plant-based Market for 2025’ and give us the motivating speech of our lives!
Then, through the night, we will hold this space, with spontaneous and creative actions. We will engage with those around us, we will sing, dance, and hold vigils for the animals. When people begin to pass through OUR market in the morning on their way to work, we will show them, and the world, why we need to move towards a plant-based society. NOW.
TWO SITES, ONE GOAL
We have adapted our original plans to be at Smithfield for two weeks. In many conversations with Extinction Rebellion, our volunteers and people in our wider movement, we have adapted to the situation on the ground, and listened to the calls to build solidarity across this movement.
We have to be at Smithfield. It is our duty to claim this space and show our vision. And due to the passionate, dedicated and dutiful presence of thousands of us at Smithfield Market, we will have created a view into a future that we could build together — a vision of joy, humility and responsibility.
Following our protests and meaningful dialogue with the traders of Smithfield and the police, where we have convinced them of our right to share this vision in the middle of their market, it is now the government’s duty to start creating a roadmap to get us there.
As it stands, we still have a government that fails to act responsibly to the climate emergency. We must take our vision and hope of the future directly to those who can truly make it happen.
As part of the wider movement that Extinction Rebellion has led to reach government, we accept we need to be at government. But as animal justice activists, we know that we need to go to Smithfield first and paint a picture of what the government needs to *act upon*.
So we go to Smithfield, we show the world our vision, and we take that vision to government as part of the International Rebellion.
This is our goal. This is how we win. Watch this video for more:
THE LOGISTICS: MAKING THIS HAPPEN
You need to know how to make your part in this Rebellion joyful, safe, and transformative.
So, from Monday 30th until October 7th we will be sending daily updates with any further logistical information to get you here, to involve you, to empower you, and to make this Rebellion a success. What we can tell you now is the outline of this first 36 hours.
Monday 7th into Tuesday 8th October
11am Gather in Russell Square
12pm The Rebellion begins with speeches and briefings
130pm We march to Smithfield
230pm We begin setting up our vision in Grand Avenue
4/5pm George Monbiot opens ‘OUR plant-based market’
5pm LunchBox restaurant delivers warm vegan taster boxes!
5–8pm Creativity, Talks, Singing. This is our space now.
8pm People’s Assembly: why are we here? What can we do this fortnight?
11pm onwards… actions and protests through the night
(some people will sleep; some will not; we will have this space and a close-by regenerative space for wellbeing)
5am outreach as commuters begin to pass through Grand Avenue
8am onwards… spontaneous actions around Smithfield
Midday onwards we take our vision to Defra and set up The Garden City
Tuesday 8th, Evening
Activities begin at Defra.
Our sites will be respectful, humble, and welcoming to every part of every one. And when we leave, we leave nothing behind. No litter, no plastic. The plant-based food we use to envision the future will then go to the October Sustenance kitchens to feed the Rebellion.
ACTIONS OVER THE FOLLOWING TWO WEEKS
There will be a number of actions targeting government and other sites of animal exploitation across the two weeks. More details will follow very soon. All actions will be aligned with our Principles, and especially the need to put animal lives at the heart of any future discussion in a citizens’ assembly.
But for now, look at this PACKING LIST at www.animalrebellion.org/packinglist. Share with your friends. And see you in London. And it’s not too late to volunteer! Please contact us direct if you want to be involved: firstname.lastname@example.org telling us what you can do.
#EverybodyNow #WeAreAllCrew #MovementOfMovements #ClimateEmergency #AnimalEmergency
*Correction: in the video we say that humans are 0.1% of all living beings but have wiped out 83% of wild mammals. In fact, it is worse than this by a magnitude: humans are 0.01% of all living beings, but have wiped out 83% of all wild mammals: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study