- Michaela Myers, 52, found ‘dairy = death’ painted on her store window last week
- This is the second time Barney’s Delicatessen targeted since opening in 2018
- Anonymous Brighton animal rights collective advocate has defended the act
Suspected militant vegans have vandalised a cheese shop in Brighton by spraying ‘dairy = death’ in red paint on the window. Michaela Myers, who owns Barney’s Delicatessen in Kensington Gardens, said she believes the graffiti was left on her store by hard-line vegan activists, who had sprayed ‘Mmm cancer’ outside the shop a year ago.
‘This is the second time our shop has been hit by militant vegans, whose ignorance never ceases to amaze me,’ she said. ‘A year ago we found the words “Mmm cancer” sprayed on the floor just outside the shop. We’d only just opened and they were already targeting us.’
Ms Myers said she sympathised with people’s concerns about animal welfare, but explained the damage would cost a small fortune to remove at a time when the business was struggling to stay afloat due to lockdown.
‘The emotional impact alone has been horrible. I’ve got that knotted, twisting feeling inside – my stomach’s still churning,’ she said. ‘It’s really upsetting that people feel the need to do something like this. We’re just trying to make a living, help the community and get through this difficult time.’
The 52-year-old, who opened her store in East Sussex in 2018, added her business is struggling to survive after being forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic. The delicatessen now offers boxes of fresh vegetables for customers to collect or for next day delivery across the local area.
An anonymous Brighton animal rights collective advocate defended the act when approached by the Argus, saying: ‘What is more extreme, killing an animal or spraying paint?’ In a statement, the anonymous organisation said: ‘Although the act of graffiti is vandalism, we support the message of animal liberation relayed in it.
‘The same system that classes graffiti as vandalism allows the exploitation and killing of individuals and therefore we must challenge this institution.
‘This is also a human rights issue. Slaughterhouse workers are being forced to work during the pandemic and thereby being put at a disproportionately high risk of catching the virus.’