College: Help Needed To Defend Against Activists

Ann McClure's picture

Officials with the Vermont college that was targeted by animal rights activists over its decision to slaughter two oxen told a legislative committee that resources are needed for farms and other businesses to deal with potential online threats from activists.

Green Mountain College officials and students testified before the House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday about the ordeal that ensued this fall after the school decided in a public forum to slaughter two retired oxen from the college's farm and use the meat in its dining hall.

The uproar began after VINE Sanctuary, based in Springfield, Vt., offered a home for the animals and urged followers to contact Green Mountain College officials and ask them to reconsider their decision. VINE stands for Veganism is the Nest Evolution.

Critics signed online petitions, other groups got involved and followers sent millions of emails from around the world — some of them threatening and vitriolic — to try to spare the animals, school officials said, displaying some of the messages to the committee. Groups opposed to the school's decision put it under surveillance, with photos of the campus and video appearing online, officials said.

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