A group of activists have taken over a meat factory and demanded that the animals be released to a sanctuary.
Vegan campaigners from the Smash Speciesism group stormed the Forge Farm Meats complex in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, then chained themselves to machinery.
They said they will only leave the factory if the animals, including sheep, are transferred to a sanctuary “to live the rest of their lives in peace”.
The group accessed the kill floor of the abattoir and waste silos in the early hours of Tuesday.
It posted video footage of their raid on Facebook, showing activists climbing over fences and setting off a pink smoke bomb from the top of the building.
Kent Police said the protesters remained on the site.
A spokesman said: “Kent Police was called at 3.35am on Tuesday 27 August 2019 to reports of a protest at a business in Powder Mill Lane, Tunbridge Wells.
“Officers attended to speak to those involved and remain at the scene.”
In its statement on Facebook, Smash Speciesism said: “In the early hours of Tuesday, 27th of August, a number of activists accessed the slaughterhouse buildings owned by Forge Farm Meats in Tunbridge Wells.
“The group has locked on to machinery with the intention of remaining inside the building and blockading the killing of animals for as long as possible.
“Two different groups have accessed either the kill floor or the waste silos, ensuring that their eviction will need climbing police and specialised operatives that know how to cut lock ons.
“The decision to access and blockade this building has not been taken lightly. We are aware of the legal risks related to the action, but we believe there is no other chance to push systemic change.
“The continuous exploitation of sentient beings, treated as property, is not just immoral but unjust, and if we have to force justice by acting against the law, we will do so unapologetically.”
Smash Speciesism said their action was unrelated to an ongoing court case against workers from Forge Farm Meats - two members of staff there have been accused of failing to stun animals properly before they were killed.
The activists said: “We don’t believe in a world where slaughterhouse workers treat the animals kindly, but in a world where slaughterhouses don’t exist.”
The group said accessing the site was not difficult because doors were left unlocked and ajar.
It said some activists have used tubes with multiple layers of different materials and are chained together.
“We are explaining the methodology to make one thing very clear, the situation is dangerous and could result in injuries if the correct professionals are not on site.”
The statement added: “We are going to remain inside of the slaughterhouse for as long as we possibly can and we are not willing to give up our opposition until Forge Farm Meats closes down for good.
“We would be willing to abandon the blockade if all animals scheduled to be killed today are transported to an animal sanctuary of our choice and if the safety and freedom of the activists is promised, without charges and without personal details.”
The group warned this was the “first of many actions we are willing to take in order to combat and ultimately bring down speciesism”.
A spokesman for Forge Farm Meats said police were escorting activists from the site.