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Market butcher forced to stop displaying meat and game because 'townies' object: Family firm targeted with anonymous hate mail because of carcasses hanging in the window

February 23, 2014 dailymail.co.uk

For more than 100 years, butchers in the market town of Sudbury have proudly displayed their meats in their shop windows. But now one has been forced to stop hanging game such as pheasants, partridges and rabbits in his shopfront after a vicious campaign, blamed on ‘townies’ who have recently moved in.

Staff at JBS Family Butchers, which has sawdust on the floor and takes great pride in its link to local suppliers and the countryside way of life, spent hours every week perfecting their window displays featuring meat and game.

Unplucked birds and the occasional pig or deer head were hung up in its shopfront in a small precinct in the Suffolk town. But it has reluctantly had to remove the display after it became the target of a campaign including anonymous hate mail and people hurling abuse in the shop. Others wrote to the local papers and posted remarks on Facebook calling for a boycott of the shop and its neighbours.

Assistant manager Richard Nicholson, 25, said staff had been stunned. ‘We really put a lot of effort into the window display to make it look special and attract customers,’ he said. ‘There have been pheasants, partridge, rabbits and even half a pig. We live in a market town in the countryside, so I am surprised people feel this way. ‘It is tough trading against the big supermarkets so we are up against it already without this happening.’

After the call to boycott neighbouring shops, the butcher’s replaced its display with a small sign saying simply: ‘Due to complaints, there is no window display.’ Mr Nicholson said: ‘We have had anonymous hate mail and people have come into the shop and said stuff. We feel we’ve been persecuted for being proud of our trade and tradition.’

In a letter to a local paper Ben Mowles, 34, said the ‘needless display of multiple mutilated carcasses’ had stopped him taking his 12-year-old daughter to the nearby sweet shop ‘We avoid the entire precinct as we’d rather not look at bloody severed pigs’ heads when buying sweets,’ he wrote. ‘I am asking for JBS to be more considerate with what they display in their window.’

Daniel Cudmore, 25, wrote: ‘As someone who breeds rabbits, I find the display of animals hanging in the window disgusting. It has continental giant rabbits, pigs’ heads and ducks. It must be upsetting for children who have animals.’

Keith Lewis, 35, a petrol station worker who moved to Sudbury three years ago, told the Daily Mail: ‘Their display looks more like a scene from a horror movie. They even had a line of squirrels across a bar. Who eats squirrel? ‘Everyone knows animals are killed to get meat but you don’t need it shoved in your face like this.’

Mother-of-three Kirsty Trevatt, 34, said: ‘Why can they not be like other butchers and put the meat that is skinned and prepared in the window? I grew up around here and I think the display is completely uncalled for.’

There has been a butcher’s on the site for more than 30 years. Pictures of the area show butchers standing proudly next to displays of meat as early as the end of the 18th century.

Roger Kelsey, chief executive of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, blamed the complaints on ‘townies’ moving to the area. He said: ‘So-called rural Suffolk will have large numbers of townies with weekend retreats... who may be importing their values into the community.’

Among those supporting the butcher was Monique Driscoll, 63, who said: ‘How is he supposed to sell anything if he cannot advertise his wares in the window? 'He is a butcher in the heart of a farming community so people should know what to expect. The displays are always colourful and impressive.’

On Facebook, Paul Felton wrote: ‘If you want to live in (the) country, put up with country habits.’ Jessica Bridges added: ‘What do people expect, it’s a butchers. At least they know where their meat is coming from.’ And James Bird wrote: ‘We are losing our grip on reality if we can’t abide being reminded where our sausages originate from (and I’m a vegan).’

Comment: Meet your meat, people. Take your blinders off, look into their eyes & make the connection. It’s not pretty. As George Bernard Shaw so aptly put it: “We are the living graves of murdered beasts.”

If you are repulsed, eliminate meat and other animal products from your diet. It’ll be the best move you ever make.

February 28, 2014 Update: Sudbury butcher’s dead animal window display reinstated. Richard Nicholson, assistant manager said, "It's been a little bit overwhelming, but the public has decided that it goes back in, so it's back in." He added the incident had shown "that the country seems to like the traditional butchers and that the game and things we hang in the window aren't such a bad thing".

Comment: When will we come around to recognizing that animals have intrinsic/inherent worth apart from instrumental, financial, and practical value attributed by humans?

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