Britain's butchers say they're "living in fear" after a spate of violent attacks they say were committed by militant vegans who are unhappy with their meat-based businesses.
According to The Telegraph, "attacks on small businesses by vegan activists are on the rise." The attacks include what farmers say are threats of violence and death, "stoked by social media and encouraged by international groups of activists."
Small businesses, like Marlow Butchers in the town of Kent, have been vandalized with red paint. Other butchers say vegan activists have threatened to burn down their homes. Farmers who cultivate livestock for slaughter say they've been threatened, and even truck drivers who haul live animals to meat processing plants have had their windshields cracked by marauding groups of animal rights activists clad in black face masks.
“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 trying to ruin our reputation online, too, by leaving negative reviews and comments,” the owner of Marlow's told a local news outlet. He added that he's even recently received warning that vegan activists are planning to "petrol bomb" his shop.
It doesn't even matter if you're an "eco-friendly farmer": eco-friendly dairy farmers Jonathan Crickmore, 37, and wife Dulcie, 35, were subjected to [five solid days of death threats after he posted a picture of his new triplet calves on Facebook. Along with hate mail, they were sent 'some unpleasant messages' regarding their two children," reports The Sun.
Only one butcher shop has, so far, fought back. In March, chef Michael Hunter butchered a deer leg in his restaurant's front window in front of a group of animal rights activists after the London establishment, called Antler, was threatened, attacked, and vandalized by militant vegans. Activists attempted to "spare" passersby from the sight by covering Antler's windows with propaganda posters.
The British Countryside Alliance which handers farmers' complaints says they're working on formulating a game plan to handle the militant protesters, but that much of the vegans' initial planning and most of their harassment happens online where it isn't easily controlled.