I’m a vegan and this is why I support the milk protests

We’re just young people who genuinely care

Vegan activists belonging to Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, have taken to high-end supermarkets across the UK and poured milk all over the floor. They did it over the summer in Harrods and they’ve done it again, all in the name of a plant based future. As expected, the general public is crying over spilt milk. In fact, it’s milk-gate. It’s venom. The response to this act has been pure outrage, and we are the ones labelled as snowflakes? We’re just young people who genuinely care about the environment.

Yes, the act was extreme activism – I get it. But as a newly christened vegan, I fully back them and their creamy weapon of choice. A lot of us love cheese, chocolate and even some heathens choose to drink warm milk before bed (wtf). However, we rarely question the true cost of milk, I know I didn’t. For you it may be just a 99p flake, but for global emissions – we are just a few pints away from catastrophe. So, in four cities, the vegan activists poured milk over the floor as a non-violent response to violent actions and ultimately, a violent future.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well, cows don’t produce milk because they’re cows. Cows produce milk because they’re pregnant. The dairy industry is built upon the exploitation of an innocent pregnant animal at huge environmental cost.

Cows in the dairy industry are forcibly impregnated again and again until they die, usually of exhaustion, and at a fraction of their natural lifespan. Very rarely, after carrying the calf for nine months, do they even get to raise it. If it’s a male cow, it is put into the veal industry or killed at birth. If it’s female, it will have the same fate as its mother. With the baby cows put into isolation pens, any milk produced goes to us, humans. Yes, milk is wasted in the protests. But is milk not wasted the second that it doesn’t go to the calf?

Amongst those in Fortnum and Mason was a charity worker from Herefordshire, Lou Hadden said: “This is not how I imagined spending my weekend. Unfortunately, this disruption is necessary to get those in power to listen to the academics at Oxford, Harvard, and the IPCC. The world’s best climate and land scientists are calling for the transition to a plant-based food system. We need bold and decisive politics at this time, not the horror show we currently see.”

We’re sorry that the ones paying the price are the cleaners of these stores. They have the least to do with it and aren’t paid enough to deal with the impact. Are these high-end supermarkets not the perfect place to stage such an event? We’re in a cost of living crisis. Food prices are going up every day. The type of customer who does their weekly shop at Harrods won’t lose out because of some spoiled milk.

The nature of activism is that it will cause a response, be it positive or negative. The activists did what they did because we are living in a time where there is a blatant lack of acknowledgement for the climate crisis. A global shift to plant-based agriculture would free up 76 per cent of the land currently required for food production. The worst effects of climate breakdown could be mitigated by rewilding this land. Animal Rebellion wants to support farmers in transitioning to a plant-based food system. What’s wrong with that?

We’ve become too focused on the milk protests or the blockading of streets witnessed earlier this year and so detached from the wider issue at play. The UK would be carbon-negative if it totally switched to a plant-based food system. The milk activists are taking action. They are just young people trying to find solutions to help future generations, because the UK government is so incapable of doing so. I support them in their work – you should too.

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