Two of the vegan community’s most recognisable activists have been featured on a primetime breakfast news slot alongside farmers.
‘Earthling Ed’ and Joey Carbstrong were invited to appear on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire breakfast show this morning.
The pair wanted to highlight the plight faced by 56 billion farm animals worldwide every year, while farmers complained they couldn't sleep and felt degraded when they were accused of being called 'murderers'.
Ed Winters - known more commonly by his activism name ‘Earthling Ed’ - was invited to talk on the program alongside Paul Tomkins, a farmer who accuses vegans of calling him 'a rapist' dozens of times every week
They were also joined by Dr Jude Capper, a dairy industry campaigner and former vegan, and ‘Dougie’, who used to work on an organic beef farm and recently went vegan.
Tomkins said farmers feel threatened and are often accused of abusing animals - which he says is not true, and that farmers are very open.
According to former farm worker Dougie: "I was just as indoctrinated as everyone else in terms of the humane slaughter.
"The organic beef farm I used to work on, the animals are actually really well looked after.
"But then there is a little bit in the middle, the slaughterhouse. People say it��s humane slaughter and that’s just a marketing ploy, basically. Humane and slaughter couldn’t be further apart."
Earthling Ed debates dairy farmer Paul Tomkins
One issue Winters spoke about was trespass - and why activists will venture onto farms to film conditions, rather than contact their MP.
It was noted that trespass is not breaking criminal law, but can be a civil offence.
He said: "If we look at any social justice movement through history, laws have always been far behind, and laws are always struggling to catch up with the activism of its time.
"This whole idea that farmers are using fear of trespass is a distraction. They’re not scared of the trespass what they’re scared of is what the footage and information is showing. "
He added: "Paul said that farming is transparent. It’s anything but transparent.
"The things that we do to animals in terms of the mutilations are not transparent.
"What happens in slaughterhouses is not transparent. And even on a dairy farm things like the male calves and the female calves being separated from their mothers, many people don’t know that."
After the interview, Winters told PBN that he was pleased to see veganism being so heavily featured on such a prominent programme.
He added: "It was a great privilege to be able to speak on the BBC mainly because I’m so proud that this is a message that's now being put out to the mainstream and is on nationwide television.
"It shows just how far we are progressing as a movement, the fact that it’s getting national coverage on such a big platform.
"I’m really glad to see that this is getting coverage now.
"It just shows that if as a community we come together and we are activists and we do go to events and put events on it does gain attention.
"The only reason this is being discussed is because of activism and because people are out there going to events.
"It really shows how important it is that we do take part in these events and join in protests, vigils and outreach events, because they do get seen and they do garner attention."
Earthling Ed encourages other activists
The Victoria Derbyshire show also featured footage of a 'cube of truth', - where silent activists in a cube formation play animal agriculture footage to passersby - as well as activists attending vigils to bear witness to pigs on their way to slaughter.
A BBC camera crew joined Joey Carbstrong at a vigil led by Liverpool Pig Save, a branch of the international group The Save Movement.
Footage from the vigil was featured heavily across the programme, especially a scene in which Save Movement activists claim a slaughterhouse worker assaulted a young woman by pushing her and pulling on her scarf.
An official complaint was made to police about the incident.
Joey Carbstrong was quoted as saying: "As vegans we want peace. I'm defending animals.
"I'm speaking for animals. If abolitionists didn’t speak up for what happened back then for slaves [slavery] would never have been abolished, and I’m sure it made some slave owners a little bit angry
to not have their slaves picking their cotton for them, but it’s not about the save owners in the same way it’s not about the animal farmers.
"The reason farmers don’t see themselves as slave owners is because they don’t see animals as victims."
A spokesperson for The Save Movement, which is comprised of over 300 groups worldwide, said they were also pleased to see veganism being so heavily featured on the BBC.
"Times are certainly changing. It’s wonderful to see such a prominent feature on veganism and we are proud of how quickly The Save Movement and other forms of activism have grown worldwide in the last few years.
"Veganism is the choice to live a life in which cruelty and exploitation of animals is completely avoided. We are a peaceful and non-violent group."
Joey Carbstrong bearing witness to animals on their way to slaughter
They added: "The Save Movement bear witness to animals on their way to slaughter and then tell the world about their plight, in the hope that people will make the conscious decision to switch to a cruelty-free life.
"There are groups all around the world, so if you want to join one, there is most likely a group near you, or we can help you to set one up.
"Emotions and passion can run high at vigils, but the vast majority are very peaceful. An increasing number of groups have agreements in place and bear witness without any aggression from farmers or workers.
"We are proud of every one of our core activists, who uphold the Save Movement’s non-violent, love-based principles and stand up for the rights of animals to live in peace."
Several newspapers have featured the programme since they aired, including the Daily Mail and the Independent, who both focused on the issuing of death threats by 'vegan militants'.
On the programme, Ed commented: “I think it's important to add that as a social media vegan, I get a ton of abuse from farmers as well.
"I get death threats sent to me. I have farmers saying they’ll go to events where I’m at and they’ll hurt me.
"Most worryingly I have farmers messaging me saying they’re going to abuse an animal, they’re going to go and shoot a calf, they’re going to hurt their pigs because I’ve irritated them."
He added: "I don't believe that this is acceptable from either side at all but I think it's’ really important to note perspective.
"In this situation neither Paul or myself are the victims. The only victim in this is the animal, because they're the one who will have the knife pulled across their throat, they're the ones who suffer and ultimately die.
"Although words are not very nice, the actions of what we do to animals are significantly worse than any words that could be said to either of us."
You canwatch the episode here