A Devon MP has written to Caffè Nero to express his concern at its decision to stop buying milk from dairy farmers in the pilot badger cull zones, warning it will encourage more intimidation and fear tactics.
Caffè Nero made the decision in response to “credible threats” to their employees and property made by animal rights activists.
In his letter dated 8 June to Gerry Ford, chief executive of of Caffè Nero, Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish made it clear that farmers should not be punished for taking part in the government’s science-led bovine TB eradication strategy.
And he warned that agreeing to the demands of animal rights activists might encourage more of this type of intimidation tactic in the future.
“A large number of dairy farmers have left the industry over the past few years because of the effects of bovine TB and weak milk prices,” wrote Mr Parish.
“The decision made by Caffè Nero has undermined confidence in the industry and at this difficult time I believe our farmers need support across the supply chain.
“I would therefore be grateful for your assurances that you will support dairy farmers by continuing to buy British milk, regardless of whether or not the farm in question is taking part in the badger cull.”
Animal rights activists behind the anti-badger cull group Stop the Cull put pressure on Caffè Nero to stop buying milk from farmers in the cull zones of Somerset and Gloucestershire.
The group warned the coffee chain its shops could be targeted by animal rights protestors.
The Stop the Cull group has also threatened to target Sainsbury’s during an anti-austerity protest later this month.
A spokesman for Caffè Nero said activists made “serious and credible” threats against its staff – leaving it no choice other than to stop buying milk from farmers in cull zones.
But the decision has sparked outrage among farmers, politicians and the public, who have accused Caffè Nero of cowardice for giving in to the threats.