Animal rights activists have scaled a government building in London as part of a climate change protest.

The four activists, who are from Extinction Rebellion offshoot Animal Rebellion, used ladders, ropes and harnesses to climb the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Home Office building early this morning and say they plan to stay there “indefinitely” as they demand an end to subsidies for meat and dairy farming.

It comes ahead of the Cop26 summit next week in which Boris Johnson will meet world leaders in Glasgow to discuss measures to cope with climate change. The protestors hope to put pressure on Johnson to commit to their proposals and to persuade other world leaders to do the same.

Animal Rebellion claim that the livestock industry is overly reliant on the subsidies – which it claims are ten times as high as spending on tree planting programmes – and that ministers are not investing enough in sustainable food alternatives which they say create fewer emissions.

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Animal Rebellion spokesman Nathan McGovern told the PA news agency: “Our protesters climbed the building in the early hours of this morning to send a clear message that we want an end to support for animal agriculture which is killing our planet.

“We will see what the situation with the police is, but the plan is to stay in place indefinitely and this will remain a peaceful protest.”

It took protesters around two and a half hours to reach the top of the building, which they started climbing at 6am. When they reached the summit they unfurled a banner calling on world leaders to “invest in a plant-based future”.

Police are at the scene with the fire service and are liaising with the protesters through a megaphone, although no arrests have been made.

The Metropolitan Police said:

We’ll keep you updated with what happens as the day goes on.

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