Animal rights activists have climbed the roof of the National Beef Association (NBA) 2022 Expo, making a stand against 'farmed animal suffering and environmental concerns.'
The industry event, hosted at Darlington Farmers Auction Mart, is the largest of its kind in the UK - with industry leaders, DEFRA representatives and 5,000 beef farmers expected to attend over the weekend.
A spokesperson from Animal Justice Project said that the activists had scaled the building in the early hours of this morning - and say one of their protesters has been taken to hospital with a suspected broken finger after an altercation.
They said: "Their aim is not to be popular, but to advocate for the rights of animals.
"Our message to the agricultural sector, is that there is no future in animal farming”.
Durham Police say they are aware of an ongoing demonstration at Darlington Farmers Mart this morning.
Officers have been in attendance at the site since around 5am.
A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “Our officers are working to bring the protest to a safe end and to minimize the impact on the wider community.”
Neil Shand, the Chief Executive of the National Beef Association said: "Today is a great event, there is a great atmosphere - this is a great showcase for British Beef."