News, Culture & Society

Sheep farmer granted restraining order against vegan activist who branded family ‘murderers’

Sheep farmer who had to check under his tractor for bombs wins a restraining order against militant vegan activist who carried out eight-month campaign of harassment

  • Farmer John Wood, 47, from Dorset, granted restraining order against a vegan
  • Father-of-two was branded a ‘murderer’ at his farm and received death threats 
  • Mother-of-three Emma Christoforakis, 37, from Dorset, charged with harassment
  • Mrs Christoforakis was given two-year restraining order and fined £1,020

A sheep farmer has been granted a restraining order against a vegan activist after she branded his family ‘murderers’ and confronted him at agriculture events. 

Father-of-two John Wood, 47, from Wimborne Minster, Dorset was briefed by counter terror police and feared vegans had planted bombs under his tractors. 

John Wood, 47, from Wimborne Minster, Dorest pictured with his wife Karen. The sheep farmer was the target of death threats and abuse 

The sheep farmer had created the ‘Meat & Greet British Farming’ Facebook page last year to ‘educate the public in farming practices’ and celebrate British agriculture. 

However, Mr Wood was the target of vile abuse and extremists sent him, his wife Karen, 47, and children aged 12 and 15 a series of death threats. 

Mr Wood reported mother-of-three Emma Christoforakis, 37, from Dorset to the police. 

Mrs Christoforakis, who describes herself as a ‘militant vegan’, was charged with harassment after she travelled to Mr Wood’s farm and shouted: ‘How many sheep die? You are murderers.’ She also confronted him at Bournemouth farming events. 

The activist denied wrongdoing but was found guilty last week at Poole Magistrates’ Court of harassing Mr Wood for eight months between February and October 2018.  

She was handed a two-year restraining order from contacting the Wood family or travelling within 200 yards of their land.  

The mother-of-three was also given an 18-month conditional discharge on top of a £400 compensation charge to the victim and £620 court costs.

Emma Christoforakis, 37, (left) from Dorset who describes herself as a 'militant vegan'

Emma Christoforakis, 37, (left) from Dorset who describes herself as a ‘militant vegan’

Mr Wood was warned by police, after he contacted them, of the violent history of groups such as the international Animal Liberation Front (ALF) that engages in direct action in pursuit of animal rights. 

He told The Daily Telegraph: ‘It’s not been an easy 18 months. When you have counter terror police warning you what could happen and what has happened in the past, it’s scary. In 2019, it should not be happening.

‘When you’re looking under your tractors in the morning for bombs, nobody should be living like that. I don’t say to anybody, ‘If you don’t eat meat, you’re scum’. If I did that I’d be branded a lunatic – these people go out regularly and do the opposite, it’s not acceptable. 

The ALF carries out direct action against animal abuse in the form of rescuing animals. The group has previously used tactics ranging from lawful protest to destruction of property but activists say the movement is peaceful. 

Mr Wood told the court last week that he believed Mrs Christoforakis was an ‘active member’ of the ALF.

Mrs Christoforakis has not yet responded to a request for comment, but has reportedly said she will not contact Mr Wood.

Mr Wood, who has a flock of around 8,000 sheep, said he hoped he could act as a ‘trailblazer’ for farmers, and encourage those to speak out about extreme animal rights campaigners. 

The Dorset farmer added that he abides by strict ethical farming standards.   

A National Farmers’ Union spokesman said: ‘We understand and respect people’s rights to protest but this should not be allowed to interfere with our farmers’ role in producing food for the nation.’

The ALF has not responded to a request for comment.