Arla Foods UK and Müller UK & Ireland, two of Britain’s biggest dairy processors, have condemned the actions of climate activists who have targeted key processing and distribution sites to stop fresh milk supply to supermarkets.
The dairy giants have insisted that fresh milk deliveries have remained unaffected despite the disruption caused by activists from Animal Rebellion. The activists, who infiltrated the plants, climbed on trucks, locked and glued themselves to objects and punctured vehicle tires, claim they want UK farmers to ‘transition to a plant-based food production’ and that their actions were ‘the only option we have left’ to draw attention to their cause.
Müller sites at Droitwich, Severnside, Bridgwate and Willenhall were targeted earlier this week as well as Arla’s distribution centre in Aylesbury. At Willenhall alone, an estimated £80,000 worth of damage had been caused, West Midlands Police said.
Today (Thursday, September 8, 2022), Arla’s Hatfield site had been attacked, with the police making 17 arrests for damage caused to vehicles. Activists had also chained themselves to Müller’s Droitwich entrance earlier today.
The so-called protest activity at Arla sites took place in breach of a High Court injunction obtained by the co-op, which prohibited ‘unlawful protests’ at its Aylesbury, Oakthorpe, Hatfield and Stourton sites. The document states that ‘anyone in breach of the order will be in contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined, or have their assets seized’.
Despite the actions, both Arla and Müller maintained that their operations had not been affected significantly.
“Due to the hard work and professionalism of our employees, and the whole dairy supply chain, supplies have been largely unaffected,” a Müller UK & Ireland spokesperson told DairyReporter. “A small number of activists do not represent the 96% of adults in Britain who buy milk every week. And during a cost of living crisis, we will continue to ensure that milk, which is affordable and packed with nutrients that benefit our bodies, reaches families, including vulnerable members of society.”
A spokesperson for Arla told this publication yesterday that production in Aylesbury ‘has run as normal throughout’ since Monday, but the co-op is yet to comment on Thursday’s action at Hatfield.