Butchers 'Living in Fear' as Vegan Attacks on the Rise, Says Countryside Alliance
Attacks on small businesses by vegan activists are on the rise, according to the Countryside Alliance.
Death threats, stoked by social media and encouraged by international groups of activists, have caused butchers and farmers to "live in fear."
Marlow Butchers, in, Ashford, Kent, was targeted earlier this month by activists who daubed red paint on the doors and windows of the shop.
Since then, the business has been subjected to online abuse.
Wayne Marlow, who runs the business with his father and brother, told Kent Online:
On the internet it has been very threatening.
It has got ridiculous - activists from as far away as Australia are getting involved.
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.
They want to close us down and people are threatening to smash the windows or petrol bomb the store.
We live in fear and we’re up worrying at night - they are terrorising us.
The family has reported the threats to the police.
Cowardly, bullying & nasty - that’s Animal Rights activism summed up in one story. If you are anywhere near Ashford go and buy yourself a steak for the bbq from Marlow Butchers https://t.co/0KbxPaUZPy— Tim Bonner (@CA_TimB) May 27, 2018
Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance told The Telegraph:
There's been an escalation of attacks on butchers, markets, and even abattoirs and it's an extension of animal rights campaigns we have seen around other areas, using the same tactics including online abuse.
They usually attack small independent businesses rather than taking on the big boys - it's quite cowardly.
He said that international groups coordinate attacks which take place in the UK, explaining:
Social media has been a catalyst for much of this campaigning, both in terms of bringing together international groups and if they find the right independent business it does bring a lot of pressure on family businesses and farmers.
Mr Bonner also said that social media companies do not take the threats seriously enough:
None of the social media platforms view the abuse of those involved in meat production as they would other minorities. This is understandable but there has to be an equality of response when people like this butcher or others are being targeted.
It's both personally threatening and people feel unsafe, they are not putting themselves forward on a controversial issue, they are just carrying on the business that their family has for generations.
There's a really nasty and cowardly tactic, using things like TripAdvisor and other online platforms to do fake reviews and it can have a direct effect on their livelihood.
Veganism is on the rise - over half of young people have attempted the diet in the last year - but most will throw in the towel after just three and a half months.
New research has looked into the nation's diet habits and revealed as many as 56 per cent of Brits between the ages of 16 and 29 have recently attempted to emulate the plant-based diets of celebrity vegans like Beyoncé, Brad Pitt, Pink and Ellie Goulding.
However, for the majority, the change in lifestyle is short lived with 28 per cent of adults finding it "too difficult" to stick to.
The poll of 2,000 adults, by Kellogg's, found that 16 per cent of those who tried a plant-based diet said it was impossible when eating out in restaurants.