French butchers seek protection after attacks from vegan activists

French butchers wants protection following attacks from vegans activists.

June 27, 2018, 10:44 AM
In this file photo, a butcher shop is seen in the old city of Nice, France, Feb. 24, 2016.
In this file photo, a butcher shop is seen in the old city of Nice, France, Feb. 24, 2016.
Eric Gaillard/Reuters, FILE

Paris -- French butchers want the government to protect them from alleged attacks by vegan activists over the last few months.

Jean-Francois Guihard, the president of the French Confederation of Butchery, Butchers and Delicatessens (CFBCT), recently wrote a letter to Interior Minister Gerard Collomb about the situation. The letter was published on the confederation's website.

“The 18,000 butchers of France are worried about media overexposure of the vegan way of life,” he said in the letter.

In this file photo, beef meat pieces are pictured at the Rungis international market in Rungis, outside Paris, Dec. 23, 2014.
Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images, FILE

Calling it “a form of terrorism,” Guilhard said butchers have been facing increased intimidation from vegans. In May multiple butchers and charcuteries were targeted and sprayed with false blood, according to Guilhard. More recently, in the north of France, the windows of a butcher’s shop, a fishmonger, a rotisserie and a restaurant were allegedly vandalized by animal welfare activists.

The confederation of butchers says it respects the food choices of all citizens but is profoundly shocked that part of the population wants to impose its way of life on the vast majority.

“Faced with this escalation of violence, what will be the next stage?” Guihard said in the letter. “We count on the support of the government in order to stop, as quickly as possible, the physical, verbal and morals violence toward us.”

Guilhard said he is not asking the French government to put a police officer in front of every butchery but he expects authorities to take the necessary measures to stop these actions.

Animals are on display as the Paris International Agricultural Show 2018 is underway, Feb. 25, 2018, in Paris.
Nicolas Liponne/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In a phone interview with ABC News, the president of the French Vegan Federation, Constantin Imbs, condemned the attacks.

“Our position is very clear: we are opposed to any kind of radicalization from vegan activists,” he said. “This is counter-productive, we do not think it is the right way to advance our cause. We believe that educating and giving reasoned information is the way to move our cause forward.”

The French agricultural minister Stéphane Travert reacted to the butcher’s letter, tweeting, “Butchers have my full support and they know it. These techniques are unacceptable. This is not my conception of a free and respectful debate between citizens.”

The French interior ministry has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

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