On 5th July 2024, two animal rights activists were cleared of intimidating police officers concerning charges over protests at Norwich Livestock Market, in the East of England. The activists, who had been on trial accused of following, filming and making derogatory comments towards the officers who had testified in a previous trial they had been the defendants of, were found not guilty by a jury after two hours of deliberation. 

The alleged intimidation happened after each activist attended a hearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on 23rd May 2023 in which they were both defendants. Giving evidence this week, one of the defendants said it was “preposterous” she had tried to intimidate the officers after they came across them in the Queen Street area of the city, near Tombland, following the court hearing. She told the court she had been on her way to Norwich Market to buy some tofu for lunch, and she had only accompanied a friend they were with and who had “wanted to raise some issues” with Sergeant Kelly Larkin and PC Dean Horgan. She said she was “concerned” about her friend and “quite reluctantly” followed him.

The activist belonged to the group Animal Rising, and in 2023 had been previously charged with stealing a lamb and causing it unnecessary suffering, in relation to an open animal rescue they did. 

More than 150 protests have been staged at the entrance to the Norwich Livestock Market since the first in December 2017. Since 2021, in a bid to defuse confrontations, police have allowed the protesters to stop farm animal lorries on the access road off Hall Road for 30 seconds to record the condition of the animals and expose the reality of animal exploitation.

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Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.