Fearing a beef with butchers, the French city of Calais has canceled a vegan festival that was scheduled for September 8.
The office the Calais mayor said the festival had to be banned to “guarantee public safety” and protect organizers and visitors from the “risk of an outbreak of public disorder,” The Telegraph reported.
Officials learned of what the announcement termed an unspecified “series of operations aimed at stirring up trouble.”
Farplace, the association that was planning the festival, said city officials told it that “hunters and farmers had come together to make very clear threats about what might happen if the event was held.”
Laurent Rigaud, who leads the butchers’ federation in the region, said plans were in the works to make an anti-vegan statement that day.
“We were ready to organize a big barbecue (in Calais), along with hunters, farmers, and restaurateurs,” Yahoo News reported.
He said about 400 people would have attend the barbecue, but insisted the event would have been peaceful.
“We wanted to… show that we are not the violent ones, but that there are extremists among the vegans,” he said.
In June, the butchers appealed to the government for support.
“We count on your services and on the support of the entire government so that the physical, verbal and moral violence stops as soon as possible,” Jean-François Guihard, head of a group representing 18,000 French butchers, wrote in a letter to Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, The Local reported.
“It’s terror that these people are seeking to sow, in their aim of making a whole section of French culture disappear,” he wrote, according to the BBC.
Guihard blamed the medias for enabling the spread of vegan ideas.
“The vegan way of life has been over-hyped in the media,” he said.
At that time, several butcher shops were vandalized. Others were sprayed with fake blood, the group said.
The butchers’ group said vegans wanted “to impose on the immense majority of people their lifestyle, or even their ideology.”
A spokesman for vegans said that the truth is simply that France is catching up with the rest of Europe.
“French consumers are finally waking up, decades after everybody else,” said Geoffroy Le Guilcher, according to Bloomberg. “A new generation of activists is making people realize that even in the land of meat, there is very little that makes the case for having it.”
A 2016 survey on the issue reported that 3 percent of French citizens were vegetarians.
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