UPDATED: Animal rights activists protest at Ancaster quarry
Animal rights activists who descended upon a quarry at Ancaster this morning (Monday) have now been cleared away by police – two were arrested.
The protesters are reported to have arrived at 4.35am this morning at Goldholme Stone Quarry, on Sleaford Road, Ancaster.
Police were called to the scene by security staff and officers said the protestors were behaving in a “peaceful manner”. However, the campaigners had initially padlocked the main gates in an attempt to block staff from getting to work, forcing them to park in the village and walk in.
At about 11.30am, the A153 was closed for about 30 minutes while officers dealt with the incident and the dozen people protesting were dispersed by around 11.50am. The protesters ran off into nearby bushes.
A police spokesman said: “Two women, both 20-years-old, who had chained themselves to a concrete-filled tube have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
“They remain in police custody. Officers are remaining in the local area today.”
The protesters told the Sleaford Standard that they were campaigning against the owner of the quarry, Phil Kerry, who also owns a rabbit farming business in Nottinghamshire, T & S Rabbits.‘Shut Down T&S Rabbits’ is a grassroots pressure campaign which organises protests, objects to planning applications, conducts investigation work, distributes leaflets and carries out outreach in communities near T&S’s farms in order to get the trade shut down.
The campaign group claims the rabbits are kept in dirty conditions, subjected to a poor diet and no medical care. This has been fully denied by Mr Kerry.
Commenting on today's protest, Mr Kerry praised the police’s quick response, explaining they had to wait for specialist officers trained to remove the protesters.
He said his lorries were unable to move in or out of the site all morning.
He added: “I don’t think it was peaceful protest to lock our gates and prevent 40 people trying to get into work and earn a living.”
Mr Kerry called accusations about rabbit mistreatment in his farm as “fabricated” saying his farm had been approved by Defra and Trading Standards officers. “We would not make any money if they were in horrendous conditions,” he said. “We do not sell fur, beat or starve them. They are in good accommodation and well looked after, bred for meat.”