Organic farm ‘East Coast Organics’ subjected to online hate campaign for supporting Chris Packham and grouse moor reform

Five years ago a small rural company in Lancashire (Bowland Brewery) was subjected to a disgraceful online hate campaign by gamekeepers and others from the game-shooting industry, simply because the brewery was supporting an RSPB hen harrier conservation project by donating profits from the sales of its Skydancer beer to the project. A promotional photograph of Chris Packham and Mark Avery enjoying the beer was apparently enough to enrage some gamekeepers to the point where they couldn’t control the urge to target the brewery with a torrent of online abuse and threats (see here).

This hate campaign back-fired somewhat after decent, ordinary people read about what was going on and turned out in their droves to buy the beer online and support the brewery (e.g. see comments here).

Five years later, you might have thought the gamekeepers would have moved on from such tactics, especially as they’ve been complaining a lot about the alleged online abuse they claim to be suffering (see here). You’d also think that now the police are paying close attention to the social media accounts of those applying for firearms and shotgun licences (e.g. see here), especially following the mass shooting / murders in Plymouth carried out by a licenced gun user earlier this year (see here), then maybe the more intemperate gamekeepers might have learnt some self control before hurling abuse and threats at people who just happen to hold a different opinion to them.

But no, apparently not.

This time the target of abuse is a small, rural company called East Coast Organics, who farm and then use electric vehicles to deliver their organic produce to customers within a 25 mile radius of the farm in East Lothian.

Last week, East Coast Organics posted this comment on their Facebook page in support of the forthcoming REVIVE coalition conference on grouse moor reform:

This simple, innocuous statement seems to have triggered the usual suspects in the gamekeeping /game-shooting world and the East Coast Organics Facebook page was flooded with abuse and threats by some pretty vile and stupid men and women who were being egged on by a particularly unpleasant narcissist from their community who has been at the centre of abuse and harassment campaigns for years.

Fortunately, East Coast Organics has reported those involved in the hate campaign to Facebook and many of the comments have now been removed. The more sinister trolls have also been reported to the police. A few fake reviews remain on the page but many have also now been removed.

Unlike Bowland Brewery, East Coast Organics doesn’t sell its produce nationwide, which is a shame. But if you live within 25 miles of their farm (check whether they deliver to your postcode here, includes much of Edinburgh) please consider showing them some solidarity and support by buying one of their fruit/veg boxes. You might also want to consider writing a supportive review on their Facebook page.

Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon is a fan after a recent visit to the farm and will no doubt be horrified to learn about these latest attacks:

12 thoughts on “Organic farm ‘East Coast Organics’ subjected to online hate campaign for supporting Chris Packham and grouse moor reform”

  1. Thanks Ruth, they’re local to me and I use a corner-shop for veg just now … but East Coast Organics already deliver to my neighbour so I’ll definitely switch to support them. I’m shocked. Andy

    PS I was the babbling social-inept that tried to thank you for the emails, at the Revive lunch break. 

    [Ed: That’s brilliant, Andy! And thanks for taking the time to say hello at the Revive conference -that was lovely of you]

  2. I can understand the gamekeepers’ angst. I’d lke to see grouse shooting banned completely – reform is a euphemism for not dealing with the problem – which of course puts all these people out of a job.

    1. Thanks, Derek, but this isn’t about whether you agree or not with the gamekeepers. This is about inciting harassment and the disgraceful targeting of an innocent company simply because it has expressed an opinion about supporting grouse moor reform and the illegal killing of wildlife.

      There isn’t ANY justification for this appalling behaviour.

  3. Thanks again, Ruth. I would like to notify friends who may be in the catchment area for East Coast Organics (I’m not), but I don’t use Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or LinkedIn. Can I capture your post and send it by email?
    After the inspiring and uplifting presentations last Sunday at Revive’s Perth conference, it’s disappointing to be reminded of the depths to which the sinister trolls on Facebook sink when faced with the case for reforming DGS and the management of our moorlands.
    P.S. I also tried to tell you how much I’ve learned from your posts, and really appreciate the hard work behind that and Wild Justice campaigns.

    1. Thanks, Trefor.

      For sending a link to the blog to your friends via email:

      1. Left click on the title of the blog post you wish to copy.
      2. Then left click in the URL / address bar at the top of the page (the bit which shows the URL of the blog post)
      3. Press ‘Ctrl’ + ‘c’ on your keyboard (this effectively is taking a ‘copy’ of the blog URL)
      4. Place your cursor In the body of your email and press ‘Ctrl’ + ‘v’ (this will paste the URL into the body of your email and your friends will be able to click on it and it’ll take them directly to this blog post).

  4. If your company has done its utmost to reduce waste, reuse and recycle, be energy efficient and buy ‘green’, pretty much the only option available for it to take things further ecologically/environmentally is by using its position to raise awareness and thereby foster change in the wider world. There are precious few subjects where the case for that change is so clear because the status quo is so damaging and ludicrous as with grouse moors. Help to topple driven grouse shooting especially and by heck you’ve done a phenomenal service for helping wildlife and rural economies by removing a millstone from around their necks, simultaneously opening the doors for natural flood prevention projects that will help keep homes dry.

    All done just by ending a particularly bloody stupid hobby pursued by a tiny handful of people. Potentially incredibly good value for time/effort/money invested in campaigning against it if you are one of the growing number of genuinely eco/socially conscious businesses where the owners aren’t motivated by driving bigger cars than everyone else. How many other issues are there where the case against is so very strong and the case for is virtually invisible?

    It’s utterly despicable that there’s been a repeat of what happened with the Bowland Brewery, but it’s predictable because this is a terrifying development for the grouse moors. If fighting the loss of tropical rainforest is a legitimate concern for businesses (and it is) how could it NOT be similarly justifiable to campaign against muirburn and all the other crap that goes with it literally on our doorstep? A big step forward already if companies are buying estates to turn over to eco-restoration and carbon sequestration, but what if in addition they start directly challenging the whole concept of ‘grouse moor’? If they buy land to make positive changes it’s only sensible they campaign to get change on land they don’t own/manage too. They’ve put their money where their mouths after all so they’re in an excellent position to do so especially if they’ve created jobs for local communities as Brewdog plans.

    Some businesses in grouse moor areas have already stuck their neck out about issues like raptor persecution which they believe are driving away visitors and business. There are local producers who are never bought from by the local estate because it prefers to ship in goods from the fancy London stores to impress the clientele. The RSPB and various eco-centres do the exact opposite, give local businesses preferential treatment. Even businesses in grouse shooting areas have good reason to come out against it, it’s done them no favours and blocked those who would have. Well done East Coast Organics, may many more follow you!

  5. They feel threatened by what you represent, which is the very real possibility that their ‘outlet’ will eventually given the science be taken from them, forcing them into the possibility of feeling the self loathing from which they seek to hide with their ‘pursuits’ and their ‘country sports’.

  6. Well done East Coast Organics, ignore the haters. They bully to try to make up for their own inadequacy. The inferior fearing the superior.

  7. Yes, a great place, fortunately my local farm shop which I get to once a week, and from where you have a great view of the Lammermuirs where so much has been lost – glad to see them ready to speak out when needed but no surprise at all to see the reaction, true to form and just tells you what type of people some of them are – the very anti-thesis of those who care about our native wildlife and appreciate its true value…

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