Activists from the Animal Justice Project (AJP) have today (Thursday, December 15) scaled a government building of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

In the early hours of this morning, the activists climbed Defra’s headquarters in Westminster to unfold a banner calling for an end to animal agriculture.

Defra confirmed to Agriland that police were called to the address at 2 Marsham Street today, following reports of two protesters scaling the building.

“The protestors have been removed, all government staff are safe and the site is secure,” the department said.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that it had arrested two female participants and one male participant at the protest via a post on Twitter today.

“The protestors who climbed up the outside of a building in Marsham Street this morning are back on the ground,” the post read.

“Two women and a man have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and causing a public nuisance.”

Image from AJP

AJP protestors are claiming that avian influenza (bird flu) will be responsible for “our next pandemic”. The group has said that this is because “overcrowded farms act as breeding grounds for pandemics”.

The UK is currently experiencing its largest ever outbreak of bird flu, with 144 confirmed cases since October 1, 2022.

“On Intensive Poultry Units (IPU), where around 95% of chickens are read, the strain may be passed onto over 40,000 other birds in each shed,” AJP said.

“The number of industrial-sized pig and poultry units in the UK has jumped with the growing demand for cheap meat.”

Animal Justice Project campaigner, Hope Wetherall, said: “Activists today are braving the elements and dizzying heights to highlight the inaction of our government on the urgent and catastrophic outbreak of bird flu that is tearing through intensive chicken sheds at lightning speed, as well as other animal agriculture-causing diseases.

“Modern agriculture causes both immense suffering and death to animals, and a very real risk to humans, yet we continue to see no real action taken by the politicians other than declaring avian influenza prevention zones and mass culling – actions that fail to target the source of the problem.

“It is imperative that government bodies such as Defra take preventative and meaningful action now.”