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  1. ITV Report

Devon farmer receives death threats after offering 'pick your own Christmas turkey' service

Graffiti and vandalism to Greendale Farm Shop in Exeter. Credit: Mat Carter

Staff at a farm shop in Devon say they have received death threats from a "vegan mafia" group after offering a "pick your own Christmas turkey" service.

Vandals spray painted pheasants and the words "Murder" and "Go vegan" at the Greendale Farm Shop in Woodbury Salterton.

Farmer Mat Carter told ITV News staff had discovered the vandalism on Tuesday morning and it was "disappointing and disheartening".

He added the whole thing was "completely baffling".

The farm posted on social media details of its service where people can name their own turkey and "help look after it for the next two months".

Mr Carter said: "In hindsight the post could have been better written but the principle is the same - come to Greendale Farm Shop and see where your meat comes from."

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This is the first time Greendale Farm Shop has ever been threatened or vandalised.

The 35-year-old said the farm had also been receiving "angry telephone calls from vegans".

He said a caller had left one of his butchers "really shaken up".

The farmer says the caller said: "You should be the ones being killed because your life is worth less than that of the innocent animals which you are murdering".

The words 'Murder' and 'Vegan' were spray painted onto the front door of the store. Credit: Mat Carter

Mr Carter added when the butcher asked who it was, the caller said: "I am a member of the vegan mafia and we aren’t going to go away until we stop the murder, marketing and profiteering of innocent animals".

Another caller reportedly said to a butcher: "How would you like it if I cut you up and put you on the counter?".

The farmer said the death threats and vandalism have been reported to police.

Turkeys at the Greendale Farm Shop in Devon. Credit: Greendale Farm Shop

Devon and Cornwall Police visited the farm today after hearing the complaints and said "enquiries are underway into this matter".

Neighbourhood Beat Manager Dave Pilling, said: "I have today visited Greendale Farm and met with the owner and staff, following the criminal damage to the shopfront and produce sustained overnight on Monday.

"I am also aware of some alarming calls made to the store in recent days; I will be meeting one of the people who was subjected to this abuse in the coming days to follow up on this matter.

"Criminal damage and making malicious calls is against the law and will not be tolerated; regardless of individuals views, these actions are simply not acceptable and cannot be justified."

Mr Carter acknowledged the support from locals, as well as some vegans and added business has "actually surged".

He said: "The support from local community was phenomenal and some vegans have been messaging their support too.

"We would not have expected to sell quite so many turkeys this early but local people have been coming in to offer their support and put down their name for a turkey."

The Vegan Society said it "does not support any threats of violence of abusive behaviour or language towards anyone".

It added: "We encourage vegan activists to share their message peacefully and positively.

"It’s important to note that veganism is based on kindness and compassion, with the vast majority of vegans campaigning this way.

"There are extremists in every movement but they are not representative of the movement as a whole."