Two people have been arrested in London after protesters dyed Trafalgar Square’s fountains blood red to call for the government to prevent future pandemics by ending factory farming.
The Animal Rebellion group said it staged the protest in central London on Saturday to draw attention to what it believes to be the real cause of the Covid-19 crisis – animal exploitation.
Some activists poured red dye into the fountains, standing up to their knees in the water. Others, dressed as sea creatures, held placards with the words “global boiling” and “don’t bait me” as they staged a socially distanced protest, claiming that the government has “blood on [its] hands”.
Stephanie Zupan, a representative of Animal Rebellion, said: “The government must now begin a transition towards a plant-based food system, or risk future zoonotic pandemics of catastrophic proportions.”
Zoonotic diseases are those that are transferred from animals to humans. Covid-19 is widely believed to have originated in an animal, mostly likely a bat, at a seafood market in Wuhan in late 2019. So-called wet markets – where live animals are traded – have been implicated in previous outbreaks of coronaviruses, in particular Sars.
Animal Rebellion said the action was coordinated with protests in 20 cities, including Bristol, Brighton and New York.
Kieran Blyth, another representative for the group, said: “These unsatisfactory and dangerous measures will only increase the risk of future pandemics. The government is playing with the potential of tens of thousands more deaths.”
The Metropolitan police said two people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.