Graffiti, smashed windows, even shops splattered with blood. This is the "terror" being set upon meat purveyors in France, the head of the French Federation of Butchers tells the BBC, all part of a campaign by vegans to intimidate "in their aim of making a whole section of French culture disappear." In a letter to the French Interior Ministry cited by the New York Times, the group's president says it has been subjected to "physical, verbal, and moral violence" as "a form of terrorism" at the hands of animal-rights or anti-meat groups, and the butchers now want police protection. The vandalism is especially alarming to the butchers because those who traffic in meat and cheese are usually held in high esteem in French gastronomical circles, and because the number of vegetarians in France isn't even a big one: A 2016 survey found just 3% of people there place themselves in that category.
Still, despite France's boeuf-loving history, the Times notes meat consumption has slowly dropped as of late due to health, environmental, and cost concerns—and that has the butcher federation worried. "The 18,000 artisans, butchers, and sausage makers of our country are worried about the excessive media exposure about the vegan way of life," the group's president says in his letter. The Guardian notes some dairy sellers are facing similar acts of vandalism, with one Lyon cheesemaker reporting his shop was hit with "milk is rape" and "milk is murder" graffiti last year. One other organization that doesn't support the tactics being used by miffed meat-spurners: the country's Vegan Federation. "We are completely against ugly language and violent expressions of opinion," that group's chief says. "Veganism is about reducing violence." (This restaurant took an unusual route when vegans began protesting.)