Animal rights activists ‘sprayed in manure’ at beef exhibit

Animal rights activists have claimed they were “sprayed with manure” by farmers when they protested at a flagship beef exhibition.

Activists from the Animal Justice Project campaign group staged a protest at the 2022 National Beef Association (NBA) show, which took place at the Darlington Farmers’ Auction Mart on Saturday, May 28.

Masked protesters scaled the roof at 4 a.m. and unfurled banners and set off flares throughout the day.

© Animal Justice Project

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Protesters on the ground claimed a farmer drove a tractor over them, “spraying cow droppings on them”.

They also claimed that another farmer used a JCB digger to reach the protesters on the roof and “chased them down which caused a female activist to fall and dislocate her finger”. The group said the woman was taken to hospital for treatment.

Five arrests

Durham Police said they were investigating the group’s assault allegations, adding that five activists had been arrested.

A spokesperson for the force said: “Five protesters descended from the roof of the Farmers Market at around 5pm yesterday (Saturday May 28) following negotiations with officers at the scene.

“The five individuals have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

“Officers are also investigating an assault allegation, but no arrests have yet been made in relation to the report.”

A spokesperson for the Animal Justice Project said the purpose of the protest was to call for an end to animal agriculture.

The industry event is the largest of its kind in the UK, with industry leaders, Defra representatives and around 5,000 cattle farmers in attendance.

Speakers included Defra Shadow Secretary Daniel Zeichner, Defra Chief Veterinarian Christine Middlemiss and Professor Alice Stanton, from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Buzzing atmosphere

NBA General Manager Neil Shand described the atmosphere of the event as “buzzing”, saying the protesters’ actions backfired as they “galvanized the industry even further”.

He said weekly farmers“The group’s claim that their protest was peaceful was considerably out of place as they shouted abuse and yelled at people as they entered the event.

“Everyone has the right to protest peacefully, but they are losing moral ground as they wear masks and balaclavas and cause criminal damage.”

Mr Shand said animal health and welfare standards in the livestock industry were “unmatched”.

He added, “The livestock sector is the main cog in the agricultural wheel. If you lose even one part of the cog, the whole wheel will fall off.

At the event, Morrisons announced it would pay cattle farmers an extra 10p/kilo for dairy beef slaughtered under 18 months.

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