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NPA raises animal rights concerns in Sunday Times article

28th Nov 2016 / By Alistair Driver

A Sunday newspaper has shone the spotlight on the tactics being deployed by the militant ‘Save’ movement, which has increasingly targeted the pig sector in recent months.

Save picPicture from ST article showing activists confronting police in London, this month

Save movements have sprung up across the county and protests have become a regular presence at pig abattoirs, in the form of pickets blockades and sometimes more aggressive and invasive actions intended to cause maximum disruption.

The movement has established 24 UK branches, under names such as Essex Pig Save, since the beginning of the year, according to a Sunday Times article.

The article estimated, based on posts on Save group websites, that about 60 actions have taken place across the country, from Bodmin in Cornwall to Paisley, Renfrewshire. The number of protesters range from a handful of activists to more than 50.

It quotes NPA’s Lizzie Wilson, who said: “It has grown up very quickly. There are groups mushrooming all over the country. In the main, they are a peaceful protest and entitled to their view. It’s when they start to become more aggressive that it’s obviously a concern.”

Lizzie added that some groups had started entering farms and slaughterhouses to ‘film covertly at night ‘and said some farmers felt ‘very threatened and cannot sleep at night’. Some farms had extra police protection with daily patrols by officers, she said.

A spokesman for the British Meat Processors Association said protesters were jumping in front of moving lorries transporting livestock and climbing on their sides. “It is only a matter of time before a protester or a member of plant staff is injured,” he said.

The Save movement calls for ‘love-based’ and ‘non-violent’ protest to bring about a ‘just transition’ to a ‘vegan society’ and regards animals as individuals with rights. They should be given ‘forever homes at farm sanctuaries’, according to its website.

The Sunday Times article notes, however, how some groups have taken a more confrontational approach, highlighting, for example, how a kosher abattoir in London was recently invaded by the protesters who daubed anti-semitic graffiti on its walls.

Antibiotic story 'misrepresented' 

Another newspaper article, this time in the Telegraph on Saturday, featured prominent criticism of the tactics deployed Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics from a Government advisor

It accused the Soil Association and ASOA of exploiting society’s fears over antibiotic resistant superbugs to sell more organic food.

Dr Ian Brown, chair of the Advisory Committee on Animal Feedstuffs, criticised what he called an ‘orchestrated campaign’ to discredit mainstream agriculture by blaming farmers for the rise of drug-resistant bacteria.

He suggested the Soil Association, which counts the Prince of Wales among its patrons, is using the issue as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to help its members make more profit. 

And he claimed green groups had ‘misrepresented’ facts and figures to support their aims.

RUMA chairman Gwyn Jones added his thoughts. He said: “There’s a widespread belief in the industry that these groups are using this [AMR] as another weapon to put pressure on commercial farming, which they don’t like very much. We need to know what it is they are really aiming at.”