Hundreds of farm supporters lined the drive to a Heathfield farm and abattoir on Sunday as animal rights activists staged a protest.
The turnout resulted from a social media post by Tottingworth Farm describing how it anticipated a demonstration by Sussex Animal Save (SAS) protesting against the slaughter of animals for meat.
The group has also said it hoped to ‘close down Tottingworth Farm.’ But after anticipating a stand-off, Tottingworth spokeswoman Sarah Wareham took to Facebook to thank customers. The post was shared 1,300 times and seen by a quarter of a million people.
She said: “We were totally overwhelmed by the sheer numbers that turned up showing our community is passionate about supporting the British farming industry. As we have said before, we understand that everybody has a right to make their own dietary choices but we will not succumb to harassment by this group of activists.” One farmer echoed the views of colleagues, admitting if Tottingworth closed, livestock would have to be transported far further afield, adding to stress. The farm has been targeted about once a month by SAS members aiming to discuss their views with visitors to the farm and its cafe and shop. Sunday’s substantial police and security presence ensured the safety of both in spite of anticipated tension. SAS released a leaflet saying: “Let’s come together and insist these animals deserve the moral rights of life, liberty and freedom from slavery.
The goal is to end the slaughter and exploitation of sentient beings and targeting slaughterhouses is one of many tactics used by activists to achieve this goal.
There was no confrontation as protesters were not interested in engaging with farm supporters due to the protest being specifically against the murder of animals rather than the farm supporters themselves.”