The group from Animal Justice Project staged a protest at the National Beef Association’s (NBA) 2022 Expo in Darlington at the Farmer’s Mart in May.
Wearing face masks, they scaled the roof at 4am and unfurled banners and set off flares. Those on the ground complained that a farmer drove a tractor at them, “spraying them with cow poo”.
They also complained that a farmer used a JCB digger to reach the protestors on the roof and “chased them around. Resulting in an activist falling and dislocating her finger”.
It is encouraging to know that Durham Police arrested five activists on suspicion of criminal damage.
A spokesman for Animal Justice Project said the aim of the protest was to call for an end to animal agriculture. It is an interesting concept, but I am certain it will not catch on. For too many reasons, including demand, tradition, traditional and sustainable farming practises, the health of the nation and the countryside, and just as important, choice. A total ban on livestock farming will only appeal to a fraction of the population.
The NBA chief executive Neil Shand described the atmosphere at the event as “buzzing”, saying the protesters’ actions backfired as it “galvanised the industry even further”.
He said, “Everyone has a right to protest peacefully, but they lose the moral ground when they wear masks and balaclavas and cause criminal damage.”.
At the event, Morrisons announced they would pay beef farmers an extra 10p/kilo for dairy bred beef slaughtered at under 18 months. This can only be achieved through intensive rearing.
Since the time I could no longer claim to be 21, I have tried to avoid birthdays. With come round increasing frequency, but I am beginning to accept the inevitable and receive with grace the kindness of friends and family reminding me of the passing years and offering best wishes.
If anyone asks, when setting up accounts or buying a tractor, I put my DOB as 1911. Somehow that makes me feel so much better!
Each time one of our friends or family depart for those green hills and pastures in the sky, those of us left behind recognise our own vulnerability. As we watch friends reeling from the loss of their loved ones, I am reminded that we must live each day as if it were our last, appreciating our lifestyle and the beauty of the English countryside and our farms. Also, our families, good friends, and robust health.
As we no longer see those kind familiar faces a tiny part of us left with them, and we lose the kindness, richness, and fairy dust they brought to our lives. RIP Richard Smith.