A Kent butcher and takeaway has defended itself after coming under fire from vegan protestors about its practice of displaying roasted pigs in its shop window.
Pork & Co in Canterbury city centre is owned by butcher and pig farmer Sam Deeson and his wife, local artist Cath Deeson, and specialises in pulled pork rolls. Over the past two weeks, it has allegedly been targeted by vegan activists due to its practice of displaying whole roasted pigs, which are cooked with the head still on, and then placed in the window with the body section shredded in the usual pulled pork style.
Cath Deeson defended the shop in a tweet, saying that the protests and attacks had gone on for 10 days, including death and injury threats aimed at Sam, and repeated robbery.
The takeaway also initially came in for criticism after it was reported that it used young suckling pigs for its rolls, but it has since disputed this, saying it only uses mature pigs.
In her tweet, Deeson condemned the allegation that the takeaway used suckling pig as "slanderous", and said that the welfare of the pigs used "had always been absolutely paramount". She said that running a business in Canterbury was "difficult enough" thanks to the high rent, rates, and overheads, and said that the activists were only targeting the shop because "[they were] the obvious visual target".
She asked: "How many other restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets are selling free range meat [as we do]? Not that many! And they're the ones making a profit and not being targeted! Where's the sense?"
She claimed that the company was being "falsely targeted" for not treating its animals well, when, she said, "we spend more money on making sure we use meat that's had a better quality of life".
Commenting on the Kent Vegan Society's reported plans to hold a vegan protest outside the shop tomorrow (Saturday 24 October), she added: "There will probably be some people there saying some terrible things that aren't true."
Violet Gibbs, also on Facebook, said that having a "charred animal ripped open in the windowâ¦[was] absolutely disgusting", and that it was fine for people to eat meat, but that "such an upsetting sight" should "expect" to provoke backlash.
Some went on to defend the couple, however, with Jo Skelton writing: "Sam Deeson and his team are exceptionally hard working and principled. [Deeson] is completely transparent about the way his livestock is reared, looked after, slaughtered and brought to the table. If any vegan is at all interested in wanting to lobby for more ethical standards in the rearing and slaughtering of meat then actually Sam Deeson should be their poster boyâ¦"