Butchers in Belgium, like their colleagues in France, have begun receiving threats from a group considered to be made up of “radical vegetarians and vegans”. Last week a group of 18,000 butchers, charcutiers and makers of prepared dishes in France issued a communiqué to the minister of home affairs asking for protection against what appears to be a militant campaign against the meat trade consisting of “increasing physical, verbal and psychological intimidation coming from vegan groups”.
Now De Standaard reports such a campaign has also begun in Belgium. One butcher in Leuven told VRT radio: “I’ve suffered several things, including threats. Also less important things like stickers on the windows, scratches on the van and a damaged bicycle.”
“The worst part is the threats,” he said. “Usually it’s on the business’s Facebook page, with references to the slaughter of animals and how would it be if they did the same to me.”
Unlike their French colleagues, Belgian butchers have not yet suffered having their shop windows smashed, said Ivan Claeys, chairman of the national association representing the sector. “But some of our members have had their windows smeared with dogshit, or had it posted in their mailboxes,” he said. “Shop-fronts sprayed, stickers applied, being accused of being murderers, bad publicity on social media – we’ve been through it all,” he said.