On 14th October 2023, six vegan activists from the group Animal Rising staged a protest inside the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Kingsmead Road, Canterbury, England. They held placards calling for the UK to adopt a plant-based food system, but they did not prevent anyone from shopping or cause any damage.
The supporters arrived at about midday and occupied the shop floor for about 70 minutes. The police arrived and left the activists to complete their protest.
Chris Chudley, one of the activists, said to Kent Online about customers’ reactions, “It varied from strongly in support and nice comments to two people trying to provoke a reaction so with our non-violent training, they didn’t get that reaction. The staff were very courteous as were the police. We had some members of the public coming back to say they had swapped to plant milk.”
The group has staged similar protests in other UK cities, such as Cambridge and Bournemouth. Earlier this year, four Canterbury-based activists occupied the meat aisles at Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in the city centre.
Kim Wainwright, another of the protesters, said, “The UK is a nation of animal lovers, yet we put them through the cruellest treatment and take milk produced for their babies… Not only is dairy cruel, but it is also a leading cause of the climate crisis. Yet, it doesn’t have to be like that. Science shows that plant-based milks are much better for the environment, don’t harm animals, and have all the nutrients we need for a healthy diet. We want to encourage the government to support farmers to transition to a plant-based food system so that we can build a better world and protect the environment and animals we love so much.”