There’s a war raging in Europe that you might not have heard about: it’s in France between butchers and vegans.
The French Federation of Butchers says that France’s 18,000 butchers have been unfairly targeted by “militant vegans” and they’re asking for police action. In a letter to the French Interior Minister, federation president Jean-François Guihard argued that butcher shops across France have become targeted by vegans for vandalism and bullying.
The letters says some butcher shops have been covered in “jets of fake blood” and that “acts of violence” have become commonplace. Guihard also accuses the media of spreading propaganda about the “vegan lifestyle,” which he called “fake news.”
Pretty tough talk for Jean-Francois Guihard, though it lives up to his motto: “Guihard or Guihome.”
Now, even though these appear to be mostly acts of vandalism, it’s a pretty big deal, considering France’s culinary history and that they’re still the highest per-capita consumers of red meat in Europe. University professor Pierre Sans called it “shocking” that protesters were targeting butcher shops in addition to the usual targets of slaughterhouses and laboratories.
L’Esquermoise, a butcher shop in the northern France city of Lille, seemed surprised when fake blood covered their storefront last year. Though, in response, they posted a meme to Facebook, suggesting one should body slam a vegan when they choke on their organic tofu.
The protests have inspired strongly-worded defenses of meat-eating in French newspapers.
Columnist Sebastien le Fol assailed the actions of “anti-speciesist commandos” and wrote: “The slayers of the meat diet want to put humanity to the seeds. This world is tofu. Down with totalitarianism! Long live the blanquette!” referring to the traditional French veal stew.
Of course, it’s unclear who exactly these ahem –‘vegan militants’– represent.
The leader of the French Vegan Federation said: “We have a very clear position: We are completely against ugly language and violent expressions of opinion. It’s very counterproductive. Veganism is about reducing violence.” Sébastien Arsac, co-founder of the animal rights group L214, also says demonstrations like that are not their focus, though he stopped short of outright condemning the activism.
He said: “In general the animal-rights militants are nonviolent. The most important part of their work is to make posters, to hand out fliers and to make videos.”
They may not be committing violence themselves, but some vegan activists in France have been known to be okay with violence from time to time.
In March, Christian Medvès, a butcher, was one of four people killed by a gunman in a supermarket in the town of Trèbes in southern France. In response, a vegan activist posted on Facebook: “So does it shock you that a murderer gets killed by a terrorist? Not me, I have zero compassion for him, there is justice in it.”
But the French Federation of Butchers, ever watchful of Vegan Facebook, was all over it.
They reported that post to the authorities, since speech condoning terrorism is a crime in France, carrying with it a maximum seven-year jail sentence and a fine of 100,000 Euro.
She received a suspended prison sentence of 7 months.
What do you guys think will come out ahead in the French Meat Wars? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.