Animal Rebellion in Czech Republic gets caught in a web of lies.
Back in the summer of 2019, a small group of UK rebels felt something was missing from the exciting wave of climate activism that XR had ushered into the world.
Our first International Rebellion had pushed the climate emergency into popular culture, and we were busy linking the climate crisis with other systems of human oppression - the crises of Capitalism, and Colonialism, and the Patriarchy.
But one oppressive ideology was not being mentioned. Speciesism - the belief that one species of animal can be morally superior to and so dominate another.
Animal Rebellion in front of the ministry of agriculture, Warsaw, Poland
These rebels felt that speciesism was key to understanding how humanity dislocated itself from the natural world, how the climate crisis came about, and how to solve it. Quite simply, farming animals is one of the most ecologically destructive, oppressive and wasteful activities our civilisation does, and it is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions.
So they formed Animal Rebellion, a sister group to Extinction Rebellion, that retained our movement’s culture, tactics, and demands - but with one small addition. Their 2nd demand explicitly called for an end to the animal agriculture and fishing industries.
Today Animal Rebellion chapters are active in over 30 countries, including Spain, Mexico, and Taiwan, and the movement is growing in every region of the world. They have targeted agri-conglomerates, blockaded meat subsidising parliaments, and campaigned for plant-based meals in schools - with actions involving international collaboration as well as campaigning side-by-side with XR.
Animal Rebellion Taiwan march for climate and animal justice
In Action Highlights you can see how the two movements formed a rebel alliance to launch the Spring Rebellion in the Netherlands, and learn more about Animal Rebellion’s vision for a plant-based society in Must Reads.
Elsewhere in this issue we have a report on a global action targeting Norwegian embassies to highlight that government’s gratuitous greenwashing. We also cover a digital strike in the Philippines where rebels are fighting to stop a dam project that will devastate biodiversity.
As yet another major report lands with the verdict that our governments are failing to address the climate emergency, we have to harness the power of as many rebels as possible to bring about the system change we all want, even if there are differences about how we get there.
As Extinction Rebellion increasingly becomes a movement of movements, so too will this newsletter. We hope you enjoy the temporary shift in perspective that this Animal Rebellion themed issue brings.
If you’d like to see previous newsletter issues, you can find them here.
We are in a crucial phase of human history, and our Rebellion needs money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.
- Action Highlights
- Action Round Up
- Upcoming Actions
- Must Reads
- Book of the Month
- Humans of XR
Spring Debut for Rebel Alliance
26 FEB - APR | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Banner: ‘The Spring Rebellion is Here’ Photo: Robby Hiel
XR Amsterdam and Animal Rebellion launched their first co-ordinated action to kick off the country’s Spring Rebellion.
Rebels from both groups formed a moving blockade through the city, targeting a major road full of trams and traffic that led into its centre. Around 100 rebels were in attendance, with each movement bringing their own costumes, banners, and style. 3 XR rebels marched naked, each bearing an XR demands on their chest to ensure some messaging made it into the press. Animal Rebellion meanwhile had rebels dressed as bees and cows and chickens.
But the Amsterdam police were ready and waiting at the first major crossing. They blocked off the procession and proclaimed that anyone who stayed put would be arrested. Around 2/3rds elected to ignore this warning and were carried by police into waiting buses, which then drove them to the outskirts of the city where they were dumped and told to walk home.
Body-painted rebels make sure our 3 demands are seen by all.
This pick up and dump tactic is a new and mutually beneficial arrangement for all parties. Images of rebels being arrested make it into the media, but the rebels don’t take up any cell space which is now severely limited thanks to covid restrictions. While protests of any size are legal in the Netherlands, social distancing still applies, and there is a strict 9pm curfew.
The rebels who escaped the police buses proceeded to the Museumplein, a large public square, blocking streets with ‘mini-swarms’ along the way. After a few hours they were re-joined by their bussed off comrades, who had walked back into the city centre. But they did not remain united for very long.
The rebel alliance meets a heavy police presence Photo: Isa Herzet
As the parade headed for the National Opera house, a protest space prearranged with authorities, the police cornered them again, and another 40 rebels were loaded into the buses and deported to the suburbs.
The Spring Rebellion will continue intermittently across Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Tilburg until April, with actions increasing in intensity around the national elections in mid-March.
After a year of operating largely independently, both Animal Rebellion and XR Amsterdam are very happy with their blossoming alliance, and are already planning more detailed coordination for actions over the year ahead.
XR Norway Welcomes Global Support & Snowpeople
4 MARCH | Global
Rebels around the world heard XR Norway’s call. They demonstrated outside Norwegian embassies in 26 cities across all 5 continents, while rebels in Oslo called in a crowd of hefty snowpeople to blockade their Justice Ministry.
The global action was organised to condemn the Norwegian government’s climate hypocrisy as well as the state’s harsh response to domestic civil disobedience.
The condemnation came from as far afield as Brazil, Canada, South Korea, and Uganda. Swedish rebels in Malmö even awarded the Norwegian government with the Nobel Prize of Hypocrisy in a special ceremony.
South Korean rebels outside the Norwegian embassy in Seoul
The Norwegian government officially plans to be carbon neutral by 2030, yet at the same time pumps out 2 million barrels of oil a day, coming 2nd only to Russia for the title of Europe's biggest oil producer. In Oslo there are smart street lamps powered by renewables that automatically dim when the streets are empty, yet these oil exports are not included in Norway’s territorial emissions.
Last year, a new "climate-friendly" oil field was opened by the Prime Minister, who proudly claimed that the operation was powered by renewable energy and therefore “reducing emissions”.
The state does not take kindly to XR Norway's attempts to point out its blatant hypocrisy. During a blockade of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy last autumn, police arrested nearly all the rebels who had taken part, kept them in solitary confinement overnight, and then fined them 1 million Norwegian kroner, around 100,000 euros.
While Norwegian rebels realise that their treatment by the state is still very privileged compared to authoritarian regimes elsewhere, the thorough police response and crippling fines are making civil disobedience very difficult in Norway. XR Norway is now running a fundraiser to help those 53 rebels fined for the Ministry protest last fall.
Snowpeople block the exit of the Ministry of Justice but avoid fines Photo: XR Norway
This is why snowpeople were employed for the Justice Ministry blockade in Oslo rather than humans. As one Norwegian rebel put it, “snowmen can’t be fined”.
Weighing 50 to 60 kilos each, they also can’t be moved easily. Police examined them, but did not intervene while they were decorated with carrots, hats and placards to the soundtrack of the movie ‘Frozen’. Nobody was fined in the end.
Though XR Norway wished there had been more media coverage of their own actions, they were grateful and very touched by all the international support they got.
Nobel Prize of Hypocrisy ceremony in Malmö, Sweden
Digital Strike Puts Hole in Philippines Dam Plan
1 - 5 MARCH | Philippines
XR Philippines has joined forces with the Stop Kaliwa Dam Network and Project 19 to raise awareness about the devastating effects of a proposed dam in the Sierra Madre mountains.
Their campaign included social media posts, infographics, video testimonials, a ‘water for all’ webinar, and a petition. It concluded with a digital strike across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by international youth groups.
The Kaliwa Dam would destroy the habitat of 126 species across 300 hectares and expose 100,000 residents downstream to the risk of severe flooding. It also violates the Philippine Constitution as well as the rights and ancestral lands of 5,000 Dumagat-Remontados people who should be protected by the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA).
Indigenous people protesting against the Kaliwa Dam project. Photo: Maria Tan
The dam is only possible with a 210 million dollar loan from China, burdening the whole population with debt while only increasing the water supply for residents of the city of Manila. The terms of the loan allow China to settle disputes about the project using Chinese law.
All this destruction for a dam with a lifespan of just 5 to 6 years due to the high rate of sedimentation in the area, and when better water solutions are available. It would be cheaper and more sustainable to repair and improve existing dams and water distribution facilities, adopt water conservation policies, or establish community-based forest management.
The Kaliwa Dam project threatens many endemic species including the critically endangered Philippine eagle. Photo: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
XR Philippines and other campaign partners will take their petition to the Philippine Climate Change Commission and Department of Environment and Natural Resources to highlight the fundamental flaws of the dam and build momentum for legal action.
The indigenous groups involved face the challenge of staying safe in the pandemic while standing up against the dam. They also face serious danger from their own government, since the Philippine's Terrorism Law labels environmental defenders as terrorists. Rebels have been trying to help amplify the voices of local people who have both the most to lose and the best ideas to solve this water crisis.
Action Round Up
24 FEB | NAMIBIA: Friday For Future - Windhoek and allies approach the National Assembly to hand a letter to their government demanding an immediate end to petroleum exploration in the Okavango Delta by ReconAfrica.
15 FEB | Petah Tikva, Israel Animal Rebellion activists protest at a logistics center of dairy giant Tnuva. Photos: Animal Rebellion
3 MAR | UK: Animal Rebellion ‘repurposes’ a number of McDonald’s adverts in central London.
8 MAR | Cape Town, South Africa: Rebels haunt Standard Bank to try and stop it from financing the East Africa crude oil pipeline.
Once again we have too many actions for one newsletter. Have a read of XR Unchained for all those beautiful and courageous actions we couldn’t quite fit into this issue.
Global Scientist Rebellion: 4 Days of Direct Action
25 - 28 MARCH | Worldwide
Scientist Rebellion is asking academics and scientists around the world to go beyond giving warnings that fall on deaf ears. Act as if the truth is real and join us for 4 days of direct action.
We will paste scientific papers to buildings in small, socially distanced groups.
We will go on 1-3 day hunger strikes if we cannot risk arrest / leave the house but are in good health.
We will provide materials for educational disobedience so planned learning can be replaced by lessons on the climate crisis.
Sign up and help make this the largest-ever mobilisation of scientists in direct action.
Global Money Rebellion Wave!
1 APRIL | Global
Join us for a global rebellion wave that targets the financial pillar of power.
Rebels and affinity groups all over the world are invited to participate in a day of escalating actions that target banks and financial institutions.
You can take part in this global wave wherever you are. Read this Action Pack for some ideas and aligned messaging to inspire you, join the global rebellion telegram broadcast/chat, and check out our events page.
The people united, will never be defeated.
XR COP: World Water Day Fundraiser
By 15 MAR | Online
XR groups in Africa are planning a series of actions for World Water Day to highlight water pollution and lack of access to clean, safe water.
XR COP is appealing to climate movement supporters to help fund these 20+ actions which include river cleans, conferences, well restorations and water tank installations.
The actions mostly focus on awareness raising and increasing communities’ resilience in the face of increasingly erratic weather patterns due to the climate breakdown.
World Water Day is on March 22nd. Our fundraiser will end on March 15th.
Leading up to World Water Day, XR COP will publish stories about people on frontlines around the planet that are fighting to keep their water clean and accessible. XR COP will also report live on the day and publish in-depth stories about the action in the following days.
International Women’s Day: Rebellious Women
8 MAR | Online
Extinction Rebellion Co-founder Clare Farrell hosts a 1 hour livestream with Howey Oe, China’s first Climate Striker, Namibian fashion designer and artist Ina-Maria Shikongo on her campaigning to stop the Okavango Delta, and Angie Zelter, a UK activist who has been arrested over 200 times and spent 2 years in prison for her nonviolent direct actions.
XR Global Blog: New Articles Ahoy!
3 new articles have been recently uploaded to the XR Global Blog. Why not have a delve.
A clear explanation of biodiversity and how dangerous its loss can be for our planet.
Climate breakdown is driving people from their homes. And if you think it’s just a developing world problem, think again – this article has a case study from a place you’d never expect.
Carbon capture means sucking carbon out of the atmosphere, right? Wrong! Read this balanced article and you’ll be able to make an informed argument either for or against CCS.
XR Podcast: Tree Protectors
Last month the XR podcast was downloaded by its 250,000th listener! Congrats to the team!
Their latest episode features interviews with 2 tree protectors - one a key figure in the recent HS2 protests that involved tunnels under London, the other a rebel who has been working with indigenous communities in Ecuador.
Animal Rebellion pops up again in Czech Republic.
Who is Animal Rebellion? What is speciesism? Why is animal agriculture so terrible? How can farmers transition away from it and still make a good living? What would we do with all the empty fields? Should we all be vegan? The answers my rebels! The answers are all below!
Medium: Who is Animal Rebellion?
A short article about how Animal Rebellion started and what it’s like being a member.
Medium: Now it is Time to Address Speciesism
An article about how speciesism (the treatment of one species as morally superior to another) is key to understanding how the climate crisis happened and why Animal Rebellion is needed.
Youtube: George Monbiot’s Smithfield Speech (26 mins)
A brilliant speech by the British journalist and writer during Animal Rebellion’s blockade of a London meat market. Monbiot chronicles his gradual realisation that no matter how you tweak it, animal agriculture destroys ecosystems and has to be stopped.
Vimeo: 73 Cows (dir. Alex Lockwood, 15 mins)
A moving short documentary about an English beef farmer who transitioned his farm to sustainable, organic, plant-based agriculture.
Harvard Law School: Repurposing UK Agricultural Land to Meet Climate Goals
A study showing how if land used for animal farming was turned back into native forest, the UK could align its emissions with commitments made under the Paris Agreement.
Novara Media: Should We All Be Vegan?
An interview with Peter Singer, professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and author of Animal Liberation - a foundation text of the animal liberation movement.
Recipe Corner: Animal Rebellion focuses on system change, not personal change, so doesn’t ask its members to be vegan. But with the understanding that plant-based meals can be damn delicious, why not check out these recipes that our newsletter team keep coming back to…
Sudanese Jewish Peanut Sauce (Use hot water not stock. Have it on roast veg or in a stir fry.)
Turtle’s Original Recipes (inc. Toasted Tofu Sandwich & Breakfast Apple Pie!)
Best Vegan Lasagne (I tweaked this a bit & prefer brown over red lentils, & pre-baked aubergine slices over zucchini - but however you do it this is delicious.)
Vegan Banana Bread (So easy so good. The website is a treasure trove of vegan cake recipes.)
Book of the Month
Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
This may seem an odd choice, since it’s not focused on climate, but for this month’s theme of Animal Rebellion, it’s perfect. The book poses a seemingly simple question: “what should we eat?” The answer is wrapped up in culture, economics, ethics, land management, environmental conservation, and, yes, human survival.
Pollan explores all these through four meals representing, respectively, industrial agriculture; two very different forms of free-range alternative agriculture; and hunting and gathering. He buys a steer, slaughters a chicken, briefly becomes vegetarian, and goes hunting for wild boar. Although Pollan does issue some advice, his book is less a prescriptive argument and more an engaging and informative work of first-person journalism.
Here are a few other books recommended by us and our readers...
Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer
Peter Singer is one of the world’s leading moral philosophers and this very readable book, published in 1975, is widely regarded as the founding philosophical statement about speciesism and the treatment of animals by humans, including in animal agriculture and animal experiments.
My Year of Meats, by Ruth Ozeki
By turns hilarious and horrifying, this brilliant and satirical novel skewers the US beef industry from a cross-cultural Japanese-American perspective, complete with television and factory farming, love, fertility and motherhood.
The Tale of the Whale, by Karen Swann
A lovely, lyrical children’s book about a friendship between a child and a whale as they learn about the dangers of plastic pollution. Watch out—multiple books share this title, so check the author’s name.
Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, by William Cronon
Continuing our focus on animal agriculture, Cronon’s book merges history and ecology to describe the shift between one form of land management and another. An excellent case study of the deeply-entrenched cultural, economic, and political realities we continue to struggle against today.
Skyseed, by Bill McGuire
OK, this one has little to do with animals—it’s a cautionary novel about geoengineering—but out of everybody who wrote in recommending books this month, almost half of you recommended this one. “As (possibly well-meaning) leaders everywhere grasp for ‘fixes’ in preference to fundamental behaviour/system change, XR readers might be usefully reminded of the dangerous consequences of ‘geoengineering’” (David)
Humans of XR: Antoly, Israel
Anatoly’s sign: ‘We come in Peace’ Photo: Lior Klein
Over a year ago, it seems like ages now, friends mentioned to me a meeting related to climate and extinction, and some movement whose name I hadn't heard before.
Being curious, I found myself there, introduced to XR. The urgency of the situation was shocking, but so clear. Our planet is dying, and we're responsible. We must act. I must act. And the ideas of decentralization and Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) got me instantly inspired.
I'd love to live much closer to nature, in a little community, and not have to worry about anything else. But I find that I can't just ignore the climate and how we humans are destroying it. I can't sleep well knowing our dear planet, our only home, is burning, and I'm not doing much to save her.
So, here I am. In Action and Logistics, in my local/regional affinity group, in Animal Rebellion too... because we're just one animal among many. But my favorite is Regenerative Culture work. Promoting a deep peaceful meaningful enriching connection with ourselves, with each other, and with mother nature. This sort of well-being/caring work is my passion outside of XR too, so it seems to fit well. And If we had that in the first place, this whole climate catastrophe wouldn't happen... radically changing our culture is the only way to make sure it doesn't happen again.
NVDA is so empowering! I get to stand up for myself and for the planet. Through my mere presence, to encourage people (hopefully including the decision makers) to search for that softness within their hearts, towards the whole wealth of life, and make those political and financial and organizational decisions that must be made in order to save us. But NVDA can also be stressful, scary, exhausting. I couldn't do it without the loving support of friends and fellow rebels. Without time dedicated to celebration, relaxation, singing, soul-searching, gratitude.
A month ago we had an action, the biggest and most daring we've done. So I spent the day before, with much precious help from my friends, making a vegan meal for 40 people, to eat between the training and the action. I hadn't cooked in a long time, especially not for other people, so this was very fun and exciting! The next day, after the training, I went to where the food was waiting. Fellow rebels had already heated all the food and put it in pots and bowls, and everyone was eating and talking and buzzing. That chance, to give with love, was so precious to me. In those stressful moments before the action, seeing everyone enjoy that meal, was so, so sweet.
If you know (or are) a rebel somewhere in the world with a story to tell, get in touch at email@example.com
There are only 35 Scottish Wildcat left, and they face extinction to make way for a wind farm. Help Wildcat Haven save the wee beasties by signing this petition.
Thank you for reading, rebel. And keep up the good work! If you have any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are in a crucial phase of human history, and our movement needs money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.