Animal rights activists are cyberbullying' farmers' and it's causing mental health problems, according to a recent article in the National Post.
The piece, titled Cyberbullying by vegan activists adds to farmers' growing list of mental health problems, psychologists say, cites Quebec-based cattle farmer Mylene Begin who set up an Instagram account to show-off life on her farm.
Begin claims that she was receiving more than 100 messages a day, with some branding her a 'psychopath', comparing the artificial insemination of cows to rape, or using the word 'murder' to describe animal slaughter.
"There was one that took screenshots of my photos, he shared them on his feed after adding knives to my face and writing the word 'psychopath' on my forehead," she told the National Post. "It made me so scared.
"It affects you psychologically...The population has become disconnected from agriculture. We all have a grandfather who did it, but today in the eyes of many people we're rapists and poisoners, and that's what hurts me the most."
Pierrette Desrosiers, a psychologist, added: "At school, the children of farmers start to be bullied and treated as the children of polluters, or else the kids repeat what they see on social media and say breeders rape the cows (when artificially inseminating)...It's now a significant source of stress for producers, and it didn't exist a year or two ago."
A vegan activist told Plant Based News that while they 'don't believe this kind of activism is effective', it is 'hypocritical for farmers to believe they are the injured party'.
"These are people who make a living from the exploitation and mass slaughter of living, sentient creatures," they added. "When you look at how the entire animal agriculture industry sees animals as nothing more than units of production, and then treats them accordingly, it's such hypocrisy to say that mean words are worse than exploitation and killing.
"Do I recommend sending anonymous hate mail to farmers? No. I don't believe it actually changes the hearts and minds of farmers, and it gives them ammunition against the movement. But I would say that until I see concrete evidence of messages farmers say they receive, I have no evidence to actually believe they are telling the truth."
'Peaceful and positive'
Dominika Piasecka, spokesperson for The Vegan Society, told PBN that the society does not support any bullying or insults towards anyone and encourages vegan activists to share their message peacefully and positively as it is always the most effective way.
"Both farmers and vegans are often victims of cyberbullying but personal attacks rarely achieve the intended goal – it is far more powerful to inform the public about the systematic exploitation of animals by focusing on the act rather than the individual," she added.
“It can be very frustrating to see social media posts from farmers who pretend the animals who are exploited are ‘happy’ but it is possible to make a powerful statement against animal agriculture without the need to insult anyone.
“We urge activists to frame their messages in an empowering way by targeting all non-vegans and helping them realise they can help to end the unjust use of animals in our society by becoming vegan.”