News, Culture & Society

Family-friendly café is forced to close its doors after vegan activists harassed staff for months

A family-owned cafe has been forced to close its doors and leave its staff jobless after they were relentlessly abused by vegan animal activists for months on end.

The Gippy Goat Café in the small Victorian town of Yarragon, about 110km south-east of Melbourne, closed its doors for the final time on Sunday, claiming they could no longer stand the abuse.

Owners John and Penny Gommans said they have been targeted for months. 

They claim tensions have only gotten worse since activists broke into their farm and stole three of goats last December.

Owners John (pictured) and Penny Gommans claim they have been targeted for months

They claim tensions have only gotten worse since activists broke into their farm and stole three of goats last December (pictured)

They claim tensions have only gotten worse since activists broke into their farm and stole three of goats last December (pictured) 

‘For the sake of our health and safety and that of our families and staff we feel that [closing] is regrettably the best option,’ they said in a statement on Sunday.

‘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.’

The cafe offered a full menu and encouraged customers to feed the on-site goats and watch them get milked. 

The Gippy Goat Café in the small Victorian town of Yarragon, about 110km south-east of Melbourne, closed its doors for the final time on Sunday

The Gippy Goat Café in the small Victorian town of Yarragon, about 110km south-east of Melbourne, closed its doors for the final time on Sunday

Activists stole three of the cafe's goats in December after tormenting the owners and staff

Activists stole three of the cafe’s goats in December after tormenting the owners and staff

They prided themselves on being a local, family-friendly venue with a great relationship with many of their patrons.

Those patrons have expressed outrage over Mr and Mrs Gommans’ experience.

Many described the activists involved – who have not been named – as ‘utterly disgusting’. 

‘For a business to feel like they must close their doors because of harassment is unacceptable. This is where our police and justice system needs a review.’ 

The couple also noted their business’ name had been dragged through the mud by the same activists, who falsified negative reviews on Facebook. 

The couple also noted their business' name had been dragged through the mud by the same activists, who falsified negative reviews on Facebook

The couple also noted their business’ name had been dragged through the mud by the same activists, who falsified negative reviews on Facebook 

The cafe (pictured) offered a full menu and encouraged customers to feed the on-site goats and watch them get milked

The cafe (pictured) offered a full menu and encouraged customers to feed the on-site goats and watch them get milked 

‘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,’ they said.

Meanwhile, the Queensland government has recently announced they will be implementing a crackdown against activists of this nature.

Police and agricultural officers will be entitled to hand out ‘hefty fines’ to offenders who are caught. 

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander went a step further, stating they should be jailed, The Courier Mail reported.  

The Queensland government have recently announced they will be implementing a crackdown against activists of this nature

The Queensland government have recently announced they will be implementing a crackdown against activists of this nature

'These are well-organised, well-funded animal extremists who will stop at nothing to get their way,' Queensland's Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander said

‘These are well-organised, well-funded animal extremists who will stop at nothing to get their way,’ Queensland’s Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander said

‘These are well-organised, well-funded animal extremists who will stop at nothing to get their way,’ Mr Mander said.

‘These people need to be fined heavily if they break the law and they need to face the risk of jail as well.’      

‘Please know that your ignorant indignation, lust for outrage and the false reality you inhabit through your social media streams will prevent you from effecting any positive societal change – only harm to real human beings – and you only have yourselves to thank.’

Nationals MP for the Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said she would ‘fight in parliament to stop this atrocious behaviour.   

‘Good people, innocent people working lawfully targeted in such a way is totally unacceptable and unAustralian. 

‘I and my Nationals colleges will work to strengthen penalties, create real deterrents and stop this type of harassment.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk