Waterford butcher hits back at ‘intimidating’ vegan protest

A butcher shop in Co. Waterford has voiced frustration and sadness following an unannounced vegan protest directly outside its premises over the weekend.

O’Flynn’s Butchers, on George’s Street in Waterford city, took to social media to respond to the protest, which it says was unfair and intimidating towards a number of its elderly customers on Saturday (February 3).

In a statement, a representative for the butcher’s shop posted: “I was very saddened and frustrated to see a vegan protest outside our shop yesterday.

Protest

“We are not a corporation; we are a small independent business, run by a father and son, with one other employee.

We care for and respect all our animals to the highest standards possible. Using zero hormones, antibiotics or additives, and striving to keep all animals in great, natural health.

Regarding the incident on Sunday, Flynn’s spokesperson acknowledged the right to protest, but questioned the manner in which it was done.

“Even though I do not agree with these protesters’ point of view or opinion, I do completely agree for their right to do it.

Image source: Oppressed and Unheard

“I also believe that everyone is free to choose their own diet and what they put into their body. There are plenty of local retailers who supply high-quality vegan friendly food, so I’m happy to see these businesses supported too.

I do think we are a very easy and unfair target for this though. With masked protesters outnumbering our total staff about four to one, and the owner of the shop being almost 70, it is very unfair and unjust, and quite frankly, intimidating to our elderly customers, whom a number of had to be reassured by me personally.

“There are plenty of large-scale international retailers that buy imported and untraceable meat within Waterford,” the butcher pointed out.

Flynn’s urged the protesters involved to also dedicate time and resources to other causes that would be of benefit to Waterford, such as 24/7 Cardiac Care or Noah’s Wish to Walk.

“These are just two of the countless great causes that we support.

“They also add something to Waterford and are not trying to close down one of the very few local family-run business (and the last butchers) left in the main shopping square in the city.”

Farm and butcher

The butcher provided an insight into the daily business of running both a farm and shop and the work put in to keep things ticking.

“Early each morning, before our work in the shop begins, and before we have had our own breakfast, we are on the farm. Checking all animals are in good condition and everyone’s needs are being met so as to ensure they are not left hungry and are kept happy and content.”

The butcher added that the same work is done after the shop closes in the evening, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Treating animals with respect and caring for them is a way of life for our family for generations. It goes beyond work or a job. I couldn’t really imagine any other kind of life for me personally.

“When the time comes our animals are brought one mile from our farm to our family-run abattoir. Their final journey is carried out using state-of-the-art equipment, by highly-trained and specialized staff.”

Reaction

In a follow-up statement, Flynn’s representative noted that its earlier post has since been shared across international vegan groups.

“Some of these individuals have taken it upon themselves to send some horrible messages to this page. I will not post these messages nor will I reply to them.

“But personally attacking me and my family is completely unwarranted and a terrible act.”

Describing the response as “a bit overwhelming to deal with”, the butcher noted that a number of people from abroad had left fake reviews of the company in a bid to “destroy our business”.

“I do not think any groups involved would condone the actions of these individuals and I ask that it please stop.

“Although we have had a lot of negative replies, we have also been overwhelmed with support. I would like to thank all those who have sent well wishes; it truly means a lot.”

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