The French Federation of Butchers (Confédération Française de la Boucherie) revealed in a letter to the government that several shops in France have been stoned and vandalised by anti-meat graffiti.
Federation chief Jean-François Guihard has called for police protection from the government and described the attacks in a letter to government minister Gérard Collomb as a form of “terrorism”.
“The attacks suffered by butchers/charcuteries and the whole industry is a form of terrorism, pure and simple. Because it is terror that a few individuals and organisations are sowing, with only one purpose: to make disappear an entire part of the French culture, which owes so much to the knowledge of its butchers/charcutiers, growers, fishmongers, cheesemongers…,” said Guihard.
He added: “For several months, the 18,000 artisan butchers/charcutiers in our country have been concerned about the excessive media coverage over vegan lifestyles. While respecting the food choices of our compatriots, we are nonetheless deeply shocked that part of the population wants to impose its way of life, not to mention its ideology on the vast majority [of the populace].”
The letter added that this was not the first case of an attack on butchers over the past few months, with a number of shops being sprayed with fake blood, in response to incitement from one unnamed organisation.
“Beyond the physical and economic damage, the moral prejudice faced by these businesses is huge,” added Guihard.
Despite growing global interest in meat substitutes, France has remained stoic in the face of the thriving vegan trend. Earlier this year, French politicians voted in favour of banning producers from labelling plant-based foods that were not solely made of meat as ‘sausages’ or ‘steaks’, for example.
The move by the French government was made to “better inform consumers” and “fight against false claims”.
Guihard concluded in the letter that butchers aspired to work peacefully and to be away from the hatred and diktats of “certain fanatics”.
“For goodness’ sake, let us work in peace. For goodness’ sake, let French consumers eat what they like,” he concluded.