Two ‘antispecist’ militant vegans have been given jail sentences for attacking and burning a series of butchers, shops, and restaurants in northern France.
The Criminal Court of Lille sentenced Cyrile, a 23-year-old social mediator, to 10 months’ imprisonment while 29-year-old nursery school worker Mathilde was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment on Monday, according to Le Figaro.
The pair had committed 15 attacks between November 2018 and February across the Hauts-de-France region, damages including broken shop windows, graffiti, and attempts to burn down premises with petrol, which caused severe fire damage.
Two others were given suspended sentences for aiding and abetting militant vegan protests.
The court heard how Cyrile and Mathilde took part in night-time attacks on shops that served or sold meat as well as places that sold fur, causing criminal damage and tagging the businesses with phrases such as “Stop Specism,” “Assassins,” and “Their skin, not yours.”
Local media reports that since mid-2018, several businesses dealing in animal and fish products have been vandalised in the Lille metropolis by militant animal rights activists who campaign to stop humans being ‘prioritised’ above animals in what has been termed ‘antispecism.’
Described as a legal first in French media, lawyer for the Northern Butchers’ Union Damien Legrand hopes that the “unprecedented judgement” yesterday will “mark an end to the actions perpetrated” against businessmen by militant vegans.
“We needed the example so that, finally, it puts a stop to these acts perpetuated by small groups with extremist and deeply violent ideas,” the butchers’ union spokesman added.
Veganism is relatively rare in France, however it is reportedly on the rise. Last spring, French butchers called on the government to protect them following a spate of attacks from vegans, with the federation of butchers chief Jean-François Guihard writing, “It’s terror that these people are seeking to sow, in their aim of making a whole section of French culture disappear.”
Breitbart London reported in December that counter-terrorism police were being engaged to offer guidance to the meat industry in the face of rising vegan militantism, while in May 2018 vegan activists identifying with the animal rights extremism group Animal Liberation Front threatened to firebomb a Kent butcher shop.