There are countless media outlets currently reporting on the death threats sent by vegans to farmers, leaving them “living in fear”. Whilst we have yet to see any evidence of the threats in question, we’ll assume for now there is truth behind the claims. To be clear, we at GlassBrick in no way condone threats of any kind in any situation however, death threats are by no means a specifically vegan problem.
The fact is, the majority of vegans would not be threatening the lives of anyone. Veganism is about living in peace and coexisting with all species, without exploiting or killing them for our own personal gain. This is why it makes little sense to think a vegan would threaten to inflict harm on others, especially children, as some farmers have claimed. Of course, vegans are angry about the mistreatment of billions of animals and can get carried away when up against those directly contributing to it but is it very rare to find a vegan who condones threatening behaviour or personal attacks. If and when a vegan does go as far as personally attacking someone or issuing threats (because we do admit, it can happen) it is unacceptable but it is also unacceptable to put all vegans in the same box as a way to silence them and deflect attention from the abhorrent practices of animal agriculture. Vegans and non-vegans alike, there will always be some who behave inappropriately, hence the previous statement “death threats are not a specifically vegan problem” and the media churning out over the top headlines is a deliberate misrepresentation of veganism as a whole.
Veganism aside, if anyone is receiving death threats, they need to be reported to the police, NOT used as a marketing tool. Using them as a way to promote your own agenda evokes questions regarding your motives and in turn creates doubt about the validity of your claims. It has been reported since releasing the claims of death threats into the media, farmers have been inundated with 5 star website reviews from people who have never frequented their business and have had a general overwhelming, positive reaction and this is why they are sending a dangerous message. By glorifying and sensationalizing the situation of death threats and exploiting the concept of being a victim, it encourages people to make claims of instances that did not necessarily happen as a way to boost their sales and reviews. It is not a public matter and should never be used to your own advantage but rather, dealt with accordingly through the legal system. Quite frankly, it is irresponsible of the copious amounts of media outlets to be so willing to bring out their pitchforks against the entire community of vegans, based on the behaviour of such a small percentage. To buy into such a hate campaign especially when, as yet, there has been no evidence provided or any direct quotes from the supposed death threats, is nothing short of unprofessional and perfectly showcases the biased stance of the media in general.
“Sales have gone up and they have received hundreds of five-star reviews” – Metro.co.uk
In the time it has taken to write this article farmer intern Alison Waugh, who was the face of the headlines with claims of death threats, has now revealed she has not actually received death threats at all. Honestly, we didn’t expect the points we made above to be proven so quickly but here it is, folks. Obviously there’s no taking back the tarnishing of vegans and we’re sure she’s relishing in the media exposure she’s received but we sincerely hope the media will do the responsible thing and admit to their mistake.
“I’ve not had people making specific death threats towards me but I certainly know people who have received really horrible threats just for being farmers” – Alison Waugh, Express.co.uk
With the population of vegans soaring and the demand for plant-based products constantly increasing, it is hard to ignore the correlation between these figures and the rise in vegan hate across the media. The public are becoming more aware of what happens behind the strategically closed doors of animal agriculture and this truth is a threat to farmers all by itself. The numerous articles about “aggressive vegans” are clearly designed to fear-monger and are a desperate attempt to paint an evil picture of those trying to expose the truth behind animal farming. By spreading negative stories, they’re trying to deter the public from taking vegans seriously, even though they are merely sharing information the public deserve to be aware of in the first place. This begs the question – if vegans are relaying misinformation, why spend so much time and effort trying to discredit them on such a personal level? It’s worth noting, there is never any imagery of the slaughter process or footage of calves being separated from their mothers in these articles or tv shows; rather, idyllic images depicting happy cows grazing green pastures and this is because still, they are doing everything in their power to prevent the public wondering why vegans might be so “angry”.
It’s almost understandable; they have a livelihood to uphold. Farmers are scared of the way the market is moving and are afraid of the numbers turning away from animal products. As the myth of “‘humane” meat and false ideologies of “free-range” are being bust open, they have no justifications left for building their business on the confinement, exploitation and killing of thousands of animals. Presumably, it is much easier to focus the attention on demonizing vegans and generating a general distrust of them, than it is to convince the increasingly educated public that animal agriculture is anything but blatant animal cruelty.
Joey Carbstrong seems to have been appointed the face of the current vegan hate campaign, despite being in no way affiliated with any death threats sent to farmers and being very vocal about not condoning the death threats in any way. He has been touring the UK and has appeared on shows such as ITV’s This Morning and Jeremy Vine’s radio show to discuss veganism and each time, the hosts of the show have been very clear they are not impartial on the topic which is a shame, as you’d think they would at least need to appear to be unbiased. With Jeremy Vine leaving his “dead pig” sandwich on the table; Philip Schofield’s comment about canines meaning we’re made to eat meat and various outlets having an absolute field day with headlines demonizing vegans. Throughout these debates, it is glaringly obvious Joey is the only participant willing to address what actually happens to these animals throughout farming processes whilst the farmers or interviewers remain insistent on twisting focus onto semantics rather than ethics. In addition, journalists have since been trying to interrogate Joey’s family and friends to find ways to discredit him. Carbstrong has always been very open and honest regarding his troubled past and the media attempting to use it against him as a way to distort his message is just another method to convince the public not to listen to the truth of animal agriculture. On speaking out regarding his media appearances and follow up articles taking jabs from all angles, Joey shrugged off the unjustified hatred stating, “you’re never gonna be popular when you’re bringing a message like this.” However, after an Express.co.uk article have attached images of Joey alongside headlines stating, “Vegan activists want farmers children HURT as veggie politics get VERY DARK.” Joey has been seeking legal advice.
Vegans, predominantly activists, fall victim to death threats on a regular basis. It is somewhat of a running joke in the vegan community to NEVER READ THE COMMENTS and do you know why? Because non-vegans can be disgusting, offensive and vile too, but funnily enough we have yet to see any media outlets reporting on the hate coming from the other side. The main difference seems to be, vegans do not exploit these messages by taking them to the press or play up to being a victim because, unlike farmers, they have nothing to gain by focusing on it and they know full well who the real victims are. All you have to do is go to a public post regarding veganism and read through the comments. You’ll find plenty of spiteful insults, images of dead animals and yes, death threats. Dr Jude Capper, the brains behind the recent “Februdairy” Twitter campaign certainly didn’t shy away from playing along with Twitter users who described shooting vegans with shotguns and burying them in an “environmentally friendly manner”. In response to the tweets, Capper wrote, “Recycling nutrients to grow food is always a good environmental strategy”. Whilst this may not have been a direct death threat, why is it vegans are coming under fire for the way in which they talk to farmers and yet farmers and other members of the public can say what they like about vegans? The constant barrage of blanket statements regarding vegans can be quite shocking, especially as in the same breath, these people are claiming everyone should be entitled to an opinion. If the animal agriculture business wasn’t so tragic, the double standards would be laughable.
So why does such a high percentage of media outlets jump on the vegan hate bandwagon? Of course, it all boils down to money. The copious amount of money tied up in the meat and dairy industry is staggering. The government are heavily subsidizing the animal agriculture industry and this gives them the means to advertise their products on TV, radio and anywhere else you can slap an advert. If these advertising platforms are seen to be endorsing the message of vegans, I am sure they would upset a huge portion of their customers and this is why they appear to be so in favour of the animal agriculture industry and so willing to manipulate the public into believing vegans are the issue. Vegans don’t receive money from the government and most are not in a position to afford such aggressive advertising campaigns as most animal based companies so whilst vegans are sharing an important message, usually in their own free time, they don’t bring in the funds to make it worth giving them as much of a platform. It’s no secret we live in a money driven world and so it is of no surprise the media see no value in taking vegans seriously. There’s also the aspect of consumers loving to hear good news about their bad habits. It stands to reason the public would buy into the heavily biased media attention “aggressive vegans” are getting right now and fall victim to the click bait headlines. It is a sense of being made to feel justified in your consumption of animals and can be used as an excuse not to address true concerns regarding animal agriculture. How many times has a person uttered the phrase, “I could never go vegan because vegans are crazy”, or something to that affect, before they carry on floating through life with their blissful ignorance protecting them from confronting the victims of their choices?
Of course, this isn’t the first time the media have jumped on the hate bandwagon, even going so far as exploiting the tragic death of babies to further the anti-vegan agenda. During a court case against the parents accused of neglecting their child, prosecutors claimed, “The child died because he was not fed. Period” yet headlines still insisted on stating it was veganism that led to the child’s death. Maria Strydom perished whilst attempting to climb Mount Everest in 2016 and headlines were sure to put the focus on her veganism, despite her being a very experienced climber and over 250 people having died on this quest. So it isn’t new for the media to latch on to the term “vegan” as far as tragedies are concerned, even if it is not relevant. It’s planting deliberate seeds of doubt in the minds of their audience, trickling down misinformation to keep them funding the animal based industries who, in turn give their money to advertise on their multiple media platforms.
Whilst it is rather disheartening to witness the public massacring of veganism, it does mean something. As Ghandi once said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” It seems we have evolved into the “fight you” stage and it’s important we stay strong and keep moving forward. No matter how the press want to tarnish the vegan movement, the truth will always speak for itself and as long as we hold true to our passion, speak from the heart and put the animals first, change will be imminent. Every negative article or appearance from vegans on mainstream media outlets is getting the plight of the animals into the public eye and this is exactly what the animals need. So let’s get out there, get active and speak up for those who cannot otherwise get on TV to express their fear of the very real death threats facing billions of animals all over the world.
To see Joey reflect on his Jeremy Vine appearance, click here.
For ways you can use your voice to speak up for the real victims, click here.