Read the original article by Jon Rogers at thesun.co.uk here.
The family-run business in Ashford was daubed with graffitiIn the latest attack, demonstrators sprayed red wording across the shopfront, with the words ‘Stop Killing Animals. Go vegan.’
The logo of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) – an international group which encourages direct action in pursuit of animal rights – was also added underneath.
Since that vandalism occurred three weeks ago, vegans from across the world have sent the business dozens of threatening messages and one star reviews on Facebook.
Now owner Wayne Marlow with his father Trevor and brother Martin say vegans from around the world are “terrorising” the family with non-stop threats and harassment.
Wayne Marlow said: “On the internet it has been very threatening.
“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.
“They want to close us down and people are threatening to smash the windows or petrol bomb the store.
“We live in fear and we’re up worrying at night – they are terrorising us.”
Trevor – who has been a butcher for 50 years – was so worried that he reported the threats to police earlier this month.
The graffiti attack took place on the last Bank Holiday, May 7.
After that the Marlow family posted a Facebook update which thanked the community but urged them not to feel “hatefulness” towards vegans.
It read: “We do not wish for this incident to cause any hatefulness to vegans. Please understand that this was probably the work of activists and is not a true reflection of vegans!”
Twitter users have also come to the defence of the butcher’s shop
But since then, the anti-meat campaigners have stepped things up, with online reviews becoming particularly vicious.
A Facebook user called Henry Washington Hutchings left a one star review on Facebook, adding: “Chopping up the corpses of innocent animals and using their flesh for food is barbaric.”
Manthy James also left a one star review, adding: “It’s no longer a personal choice when a victim is involved.
“Are your taste buds really more important than a life?
Mr Marlow added: “We have been here for 54 years now since my dad took over the business and we are just supplying something that someone wants and is in demand.
“Every supermarket sells meat; we don’t get why they’re just targeting us.
“The threats are coming from people claiming to be vegans but they used superglue and paint when they vandalised the store, both of which contain animal by-products.
“We can’t thank the community enough. Everyone is trying to do their best to help us.”
The number of independent UK butchers has gone into freefall since the rise of the supermarket.
In 1990 there were an estimated 15,000, but by 2015 that number had dropped to just 6,000, a reduction of about 60%.
Around 75% of butchers have been in the trade for more than 20 years, but there are a shortage of youngsters being trained in the trade.
A spokesman for Kent Police said officers are investigating the report of “malicious communications and harassment” aimed at the business.