Turkey Farmer Hits Out At 'Militant Vegans' Who Vandalised His Shop
A farmer who has been labelled a 'murderer' and had his business targeted by animal rights activists took to This Morning to defend his decision to let customers come and name a turkey before it is killed for Christmas.
Mat Carter, 35, who runs Greendale Farm, in Devon, was pitted against former Made in Chelsea star and vegan icon, Lucy Watson, to debate whether he was right to give customers the opportunity to come to his farm, pick a turkey, name it, and help look after it before it is killed.
Since he shared the post on the farm's Facebook page, he claims he and his employees have received a torrent of threats and abuse, with people calling staff 'psychotic' and even vandalising the shop.
Mat spoke to Phillip Schofield and Rochelle Humes, about the ordeal he and his staff have faced and discuss whether this was 'militant vegans going too far' or whether they actually had point.
He said: "We've had a lot of people take us up on the offer and also people who were violently against it and wanted us to take the post down, which has been seen by half a million people.
"It started on just keyboard warriors from behind their keyboard, typing messages and then we started getting a few phone calls and then we had graffiti across the doors of the farm shop and a few members of my staff began to get targeted via their own social media."
The farmer said it was just an spontaneous idea which he thought would help educate younger people on where their meat comes from.
He said: "I'm a father and I want my children to know where their meat comes from, I want them to understand what it means to be a farmer and also not to think that it comes from a packet in a supermarket.
"And if they then make an informed choice - which Lucy has obviously done - to become a vegan then they have made it on an informed decision but I don't think they should be making that decision blind."
He then claimed the 'naming' aspect had been taken out of context.
Mat went on: "I meant we will have to name the turkeys so you know that this one belongs to Mr and Mrs Smith and that turkey belongs to Mr and Mrs Stone.
"But the fact still remains that people should know where their meat comes from, and if you're going to buy meat why not know that it's come from an ethical farm, it's free range, the turkeys have been looked after and had a good life?"
Reality star Lucy then questioned the farmer on what made his farm 'ethical' and how they were killed and though she didn't condone vandalism she told Rochelle and Phil that she is constantly subject to abuse.
She said: "At first I thought it was quite psychotic because this is the way you would treat a pet, but at the same time I have thought about it and actually because I do want people to go and see these animals and see that they have souls and they're gentle creatures that don't mean harm to us.
"And if people do, maybe they won't want to have these animals killed on their behalf.
"I don't agree with violence in any form really, which is kind of why I'm vegan.
"I am sure some people get carried away with their passion, emotion, whatever and I don't agree with it, but at the same time, as a vegan I get met with abuse from meat eaters all the time, if I talk about veganism on social channels I always get people with abusive messages, so it goes both ways."
She added: "It's a huge, controversial topic at the moment and it is relevant, as you say a lot of people are making the change to be more compassionate and it does go both ways."
She then claimed that she didn't believe 'ethical' slaughter was a defence.
Despite the negativity, Mat said the militant vegans have actually done him and his business a massive favour and he has doubled last year's number of turkeys sold.