Four activists have been arrested at a protest that began more than 48 hours ago at a McDonald’s burger factory in Scunthorpe.
About 50 activists from Animal Rebellion have been preventing meat products leaving the factory, urging the fast food chain to move to a meat- and dairy-free menu by 2025.
On Thursday, dozens began blockading the food distribution centre on Luneburg Way in the Lincolnshire town. They erected tall bamboo structures and locked on to each other to prevent vehicles entering or leaving the plant. By Saturday afternoon, according to the group, only two protesters were still locked on, with the others either arrested or removed.
“We’re here to disrupt their supply chain and send a clear message that the company need to take seriously their destructive impact on our climate and environment, as well as the deaths of billions of animals, and move to a plant-based food system,” said spokesperson Harley McDonald-Eckersall.
She said the group was committed to staying at the factory for as long as they could cause disruption, though they anticipated that the remaining activists would be removed from the bamboo structures later on Saturday.
The site has the capacity to make up to 3m beef patties every day for distribution to McDonald’s stores across the country, Animal Rebellion said.
Chris Noble, assistant chief constable of Humberside police, said: “We can confirm that four people have been arrested on suspicion of a number of offences whilst a further nine people have now been reported for summons under section 241 of the Trades Union Act.
“Whilst we recognise the right to lawful protest is a key part of any democracy, we also recognise the rights of local companies to go about their legitimate business. Where offences have been committed, appropriate action will be taken, and a thorough investigation will be carried out.”
It comes after Animal Rebellion shut down four McDonald’s distribution centres in May to highlight the meat and dairy industry’s role in the climate and ecological emergency.
Livestock farming is one of the leading causes of deforestation and water pollution, responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
McDonald’s declined to comment.