The milk protests are the height of privileged entitlement - Stephen Jardine

If you want to see the very definition of privileged entitlement, just hang about the dairy aisle of your local supermarket. Activists from the campaign group Animal Rebellion are currently staging what they quaintly call ‘milk pours’ right across the country and recently they struck in Edinburgh.

The direct action involves protestors straight out of central casting opening milk cartons and pouring the contents all over the floor while intoning some half-remembered and even less understood word spaghetti about the need for a ‘plant based future’. The action is intended to try to persuade society to move away from dairy and into plant-based agriculture. However the farmers have already been paid for the milk now swilling around the supermarket floor and they will be paid even more to replace the lost stock.

Straight away, we have a problem. Lets hope the youngsters involved are not studying economics because thinking that increasing demand will cut supply is unlikely to get themthrough to graduation.

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After capturing the necessary footage for social media the protestors leave the store and post their self-righteous indignation on social media while and a minimum wage worker has to clear up the mess.

However, the reaction has not been what they intended. If the Just Stop Oil protestors have divided public opinion then Animal Rebellion has united it in anger and incomprehension.

“Every time you do this I will buy an extra pint of milk”, was a common response. Vegans also weighed in pointing out the tactics were at best poorly thought out and quite possibly moronic. “You just turn people against us” posted someone who had followed a plant-based

diet for more than 30 years.

Part of the problem is that this performative self indulgence takes place against the background of a cost of living crisis where some families have to rely on a foodbank for milk.

Animal Rebellion protestors tip milk over a supermarket floor in Edinburgh in the calls for a 'plant-based diet', but their tactics are hard to stomach, writes Stephen Jardine.

The sight of people who’ve never had to think about where their next pint is coming from actually wasting food is particularly hard to stomach right now.

The right to protest is a key part of our democracy. So they could leaflet shoppers coming into the store or meet dairy farmers and voice their objections to the industry or sit down with the supermarkets and lobby them for change.

However that is a bit boring and doesn’t translate will into the kind of high jinks that Tik Tok loves. Hence some poor soul has to get out a bucket and mop just so some attention seeking virtue signallers can get their likes.

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The milk pour protests may be the epitome of performative protest but they change absolutely nothing.

If you’ve ever taken part in a march or demonstration you will know the power that comes from the mass of people. Passers by may take a leaflet and think more carefully about a cause that has brought so many individuals together. Every person who makes the switch to veganism has been won over by information and arguments, not by some privileged wastrel making a mess in a supermarket.

It’s almost as if the whole thing is some clever psych op by the dairy industry to bolster their business and turn people away from the alternative. If that is the mission then they are doing a really good job.