The meat and dairy industries are responsible for 80-90 per cent of Amazon deforestation, at least 18 per cent of global emissions, Patterson said.
Animal Rebellion protesters have barricaded a McDonald’s factory in Scunthorpe in a move to get the burger chain to switch to an entirely “plant-based food menu by 2025.”
The ‘animal and climate justice’ movement said that around 100 protestors set up a blockade using trucks, tents, bamboo structures in the early hours of Thursday morning to stop the facility from distributing burgers. Trucks with the sign “McMurder” stood outside the factory while police vans encircled the area.
The campaigners, urging others to join in, said they will stay as long as it takes until McDonald’s commits to changing towards a plant-based menu.
Accusing the global fast-food chain of poor labour conditions and wreaking havoc on the environment, the activists said that they would end the blockade if McDonald’s makes the first step towards this goal by committing to becoming 20 per cent plant-based within one year.
McDonald’s is just a symbol of the system they are trying to change, which is the entire animal agriculture industry, the activists said.
Professor Joy Carter, Emeritus Professor of Geochemistry and Health, University of Winchester, said there is no second chance in averting climate breakdown.
“We need to radically change our food system and it must start with the meat and dairy industry.”
“Until we make large-scale systemic changes and move towards a plant-based food system, we will continue to destroy our planet,” Prof Carter said.
Rose Patterson, a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion, said, “We’re living in a time where massive change is possible, but our window to act on the climate crisis is closing quickly.”
The meat and dairy industries account for 80-90 per cent of Amazon deforestation, at least 18 per cent of global emissions, Patterson said.
“To save ourselves and the future of our children, we must start transitioning towards a plant-based food system.”
The activists accused the UK government and the agricultural industry of being lackadaisical in their approach to transition the UK agrarian industry to net-zero by 2050.
Independent thinktank RethinkX estimates that 90 per cent of jobs in the meat and dairy industry in the US will be lost by 2035.
Expecting similar trends to follow in the UK, Harley McDonald Eckersall from Animal Rebellion said not transitioning to plant based options will mean further economic and social damage, as we are going to see millions of people lose their jobs in the next decade.
“McDonald’s has a responsibility to bring about this change before the choice is taken out of their hands.”
The Independent has approached Mc Donald’s for comment.