Farmers are being terrorized by rogue vegans who are sending death threats, calling them “murderers and rapists” and telling them to “go die in a hole,” they say. Animal rights groups have denied using extreme tactics.
Trainee farmer in Northumberland Alison Waugh says farmers across the UK are being threatened. “You’ve got people storming the meat mart, spraying graffiti… that’s when individuals feel threatened and that’s when it’s not OK,” she told the BBC. “When you’re being called murderers and rapists, that’s overstepping the mark.
“[It] is quite ironic from people that want peace for animals, but then they tell you, ‘I hope you and your family go die in a hole for what you do.’”
The National Pig Association says that some of its members have said they “cannot sleep at night” because activist groups have turned up at their farms or at slaughterhouses in the night.
Confrontation between animal farmers and activists groups appears to be on the rise. In 2017 the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers met with the National Counter Terrorism Police Operations Centre to discuss how to respond to the ‘Save Movement’ – an animal rights group that says it has a non-violent approach to campaigning.
Lead activist Joey Carbstron has denied being an extremist. He said there was “no evidence” to suggest farmers were being threatened by animal rights protestors.
“The farmers are playing the victim in this scenario, they are completely disregarding the fact that they have animals on the land that are being sent to the slaughterhouse,” he told the Independent.
“Pig Farmers ‘can’t sleep at night’? Are they the really the victim in this scenario? This is a classic case of the oppressor playing the victim card. We are the animals’ voice, the activists are their voice. I bet the pigs can’t sleep at night either in their overcrowded conditions, after their piglets have been forcibly removed and facing death inside a gas chamber.”
At a slaughterhouse in Liverpool, activists associated with the Save Movement decided to trespass on the property when the pigs were not brought through the front entrance. Police were called and escorted them off the property, after an intense argument between protesters and abattoir employees.
Footage of the incident spread across the Save Movement Facebook and Instagram accounts. It also had 17,000 views on Carbstron’s YouTube account and 4,500 shares.
“We’re talking about an unnecessary practice here,” Carbstron said. “We do not need to eat meat for health. It’s not the Stone Age here, it’s 2018. There’s no humane way to do this, they cannot say that to us.
“They used to laugh at women’s rights activists, black rights activists, now they are laughing at us. We are going to look back in history with our heads held in shame that we didn’t protect the most vulnerable in society. Animals and children – they are the most vulnerable.
“They are at our mercy and we are condemning them to the most horrifying death in a slaughterhouse. If people claim to care about animals, they have to let their actions reflect that. To be consistent with caring for our animals, they have to stop putting animals’ body parts on their plates.”
Veganuary, a month-long challenge to go without animal products, has more than 150,000 people taking part.
According to 2016 data from Ipsos Mori, 542,000 people follow a vegan diet in England, Scotland and Wales.
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