A family of butchers in England is “living in fear” after getting death threats, and even having their shops vandalized, by militant vegans, the Telegraph is reporting. The “activists” are targeting local small businesses as opposed to big agricultural operations, probably because they’re easier targets.
Going vegan is apparently the latest thing in the United Kingdom. About 50 percent of young people aged 16 to 29 at least tried to go vegan in the past year, although most gave up and went back to meat eating in a few months. And while carnivores may find vegans confusing at best and insufferable at worst, most are not known for being violent vandals.
Not so in England. Tim Bonner is the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, a British advocacy group that promotes issues related to small business, the rural lifestyle, and farming. He says that, with the help of social media, militant vegans can now coordinate their efforts to launch both smear campaigns and actual physical attacks against butchers.
“There’s been an escalation of attacks on butchers, markets, and even [slaughterhouses] and it’s an extension of animal rights campaigns we have seen around other areas, using the same tactics including online abuse.”
One such business suffering the abuse is Marlow Butchers, in Ashford, Kent. Co-owner Wayne Marlow says that vegans as far away as Australia have engaged in a social media smear campaign against his business.
“The internet is the worst thing as not only are they threatening to physically destroy our business, but they are also tying to ruin our reputation online, too, by leaving negative reviews and comments.”
Bonner says that complaining to social media companies doesn’t help.
“None of the social media platforms view the abuse of those involved in meat production as they would other minorities.”
It hasn’t stopped at just words, either. Earlier this month, vandals targeted his business, smearing red paint on the shop’s exterior and writing the words “Go Vegan.”
Marlow says that activists, who want to put him out of business, have threatened to fire-bomb his store.
Bonner notes that the militants have picked on people such as Marlow because they operate small businesses that make for easy targets, as opposed to industrial agricultural distributors who are better able to withstand abusive social media campaigns.
“They usually attack small independent businesses rather than taking on the big boys – it’s quite cowardly.”
It’s not just in England, either. In 2016, as Earth First Journal reported at the time, the so-called “Animal Liberation Front” vandalized a Swedish butcher shop by smashing the windows and throwing stink bombs into the building.