A family-run café has been forced to permanently close down after they say they were harassed and threatened for months by vegan activists.
Australia’s Gippy Goat Café, located in the Victorian town of Yarragon, announced Sunday that it would have to close for good due to safety concerns, leaving eight workers unemployed.
The Gippy Goat Café owners Penny and John Gommans claim they have been harassed and threatened for months through phone and online by vegan activists.
“The Gippy Goat Café has decided to close, today will be our last day,” says the statement on Facebook.
“This was not an easy decision to reach, however for the sake of our health and safety and that of our families and staff we feel that it is regrettably the best option.
“Our staff and customers have been subjected to nearly 4 months of constant harassment, vile statements and threats from the abusive vegan activists.
“We have personally been subjected to an appalling stream of threats of extreme violence against ourselves, our family, our staff and even their families.
“Our staff have been subjected to daily threats and harassment by phone, and we cannot in good conscience ask them to continue working under such a condition.
“Our social media and review sites have been subjected to false information and artificially poor ratings.”
The café featured items like goat sausage, goat milk and goat curry and allowed guests to watch the goats get milked on-site.
According to the owners, tensions have escalated ever since about 70 vegan activists stormed the farm in December, taking several goats and a lamb away in vehicles.
The animals were found and returned and at least half a dozen animal rights activists were charged with theft as a result of that incident.
Despite that, a milking doe was reportedly stolen a second time from The Gippy Goat Café just weeks later.
“The courts have proven to be ineffectual, the enforcement agencies declined to prosecute to the full extent, so, to the thieves, trespassers and activists; you have won,” said The Gippy Goat Café.
“Rejoice in your victory: eight good people are now without a job, families no longer can enjoy the good food and open space, and children can no longer interact with our animals.
“Society is the loser; the anonymous bullies, hypocrites, law breakers and self-professed paragons of moral and social justice have won.”
The owners say they will continue to operate in the same way but will no longer be open to the public.
Frustrated by what they feel is a lack of adequate action by law enforcement, The Gippy Goat Café has launched a petition calling for animal rights organization Aussie Farms Repository’s website to be shut down and its status as a charity to be revoked.
In addition, the petition calls for stronger protections of farmers and harsher penalties for activists who trespass.
In January, Aussie Farms released an interactive map containing the location and images of 5,000 farms and slaughterhouses.
Farmers feared that this put them in danger from militant vegans. However, Aussie Farms says they were simply sharing information the public is entitled to have access to.
“We believe consumers have a right to know of the existence, location and operations of these businesses. We believe whistleblowers have the right to a platform where their anonymity can be respected,” the organization said.