Meat of the Matter: Vegan venom

What is it that veggie believers always proclaim?

Oh, yeah: That eating meat is cruelty personified. That carnivores are condoning — if not reveling in— the slaughter of sentient creatures. And that the path to enlightenment runs right through the Whole Foods organic produce aisle.

Thanks to their daily diet of soybeans and salad, veggies are peaceful, tolerant, in harmony with the natural order.

That's the company line for the activist community that openly loathes the 95% of the population who consume the proverbial "balanced diet" that nutritionists and medical authorities recommend.

Peaceful? Tolerant? Harmonious?

Not on your life.

Once again, the vitriol that so-called enlightened vegans unleash on anyone who doesn't buy into their lifestyle strictures was on full display — again — in response to an innocent "name the calf" contest posted on Facebook by one Laura Mounce, the British owner of the Lifton Farm Shop, which sells beef from its 80-head herd of English cattle.

According to The Plymouth Herald, when the first calf of the spring was born, Mounce and her staff posted a competition on the social media, inviting their followers to come up with names and a chance to win a joint of beef.

Along with the suggestions, however, the farm received what the Herald called "an avalanche of abuse" in the form of more than a hundred negative comments, accusing people of being "murderers" for eating meat and numerous abusive posts aimed at children.

Mounce told the newspaper that the local police advised her to take down the Facebook post, including a photo of the calf, which she had decided to name Ginger.

"We are more than aware and fully accept that everybody has an opinion, but we felt some of the comments went a little bit too far," Mounce said. "Some of them were aimed at our customers, which we felt wasn't right.

"We wanted to get across to customers that we are doing the right thing — we are farming to produce meat and other foods for the shop and the restaurant. We feel it gives customers confidence about where their meat comes from."

By the way? Lifton Farm Shop also sells a quite a variety of fruit and vegetables, according to the article.

That doesn't matter to the diehards opposed to any and all aspects of animal agriculture.

Attacking the vulnerable

One of the victims caught up in the deluge of abusive comments was a customer named Mary Vallance, along with her four-year-old son Alex. Mary posted two potential calf names on the Lifton Farm Shop's Facebook page on behalf of Alex, and that's when the veganistas went over the top.

"Would you let your four-year-old son hug a calf and then get a knife and slit its throat?" one comment stated. "It is just sick."

It turns out that Alex's grandmother, Sandra Vallance, runs a farm, a catering business and bed-and-breakfast near Tavistock, a small town in the rural countryside of southwest England that was founded more than a thousand years ago and boasts Sir Francis Drake, the Elizabethan era sea captain who circumnavigated the globe, as a native son. Sandra told the Herald that Alex "loves to help look after the livestock," and that she was horrified at the comments directed at the family.

"We are lambing at the moment and we have calves," she said. "We care about our animals and Alex knows where beef comes from."

Among the milder posts were the following gems:

  • "Hey, did you see the pics of little Ginger? Did you know cows live for 20 years, but the cow to which the corpse in your hand once belonged only managed about a year before the slaughterhouse?"
  • "How can you celebrate [Valentine's Day] with tearing up families [of cows] and their bodies? This is absolutely disgusting. What is wrong with you people? Can you really not celebrate anything without killing innocent, beautiful, sentient beings?"

The only "good" that comes out of these virulent attacks is that little Alex is getting a useful lesson, not just about animal husbandry, but about the hatred that exists among the very people who proclaim themselves to be enlightened, tolerant and peaceful.

Just like the claim that farmers and ranchers torture their livestock, that notion is a chapter in the reference book called "Modern Mythology."

Dan Murphy is a food-industry journalist and commentator


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