August 15, 2022 2.49 pm This story is over 22 months old

“Like witch hunters”: Rabbit farm owner slams protesters at Lincolnshire quarry

Two arrested and protesters dispersed

By Local Democracy Reporter

The owner of a Lincolnshire quarry who saw his site targeted by animal rights activists in protest of a rabbit farm he has ties to, has compared the action to a personal witch hunt – after two campaigners were arrested.

The protest took place at the entrance of Goldholme Stone’s quarry in Ancaster on Monday, with animal rights activists arriving at around 4.30am to lock themselves to the gates and halt production.

This is due to the quarry’s owner, Phil Kerry, also having connections to T&S Rabbits, an animal farm which sells rabbit meat and fur.

Protesters vowed to stay at the quarry until all rabbits are removed from T&S Rabbits’ farm.

The Shut Down T&S Rabbits group has held protests across the East Midlands in recent weeks calling for the farms to close.

Protesters were in place for just over seven hours, before specialist police teams managed to disperse the activists, arresting two 20-year-old women on suspicion of aggravated trespass in the process.

Phil Kerry, owner at T&S Rabbits and the Goldholme Stone Ltd quarry in Ancaster, told The Lincolnite that the protests were an attempt to “personally punish” him – as he compared the activists to witch catchers of yesteryear.

Protest action has taken place across various areas of the country.

He said: “The activists are trying to punish me personally, despite the fact the country imports over 5,000 tonnes of this breed of rabbit from Europe each year. We account for, at most, 1% of that, so why on Earth they aren’t protesting there I’ll never know.

“Numerous complaints are brought up with DEFRA, the RSPCA, Trading Standards, you name it, and they all see the animals in good conditions and never find any issues whatsoever.

“We have professional staff looking after them at all times, but the protesters won’t have a proper discussion with us because they do not have ears – you just can’t talk reasonably to them.”

Allegations of neglect and treating rabbit fur farming “like a hobby” prompted protesters to act.

Kerry also expressed his disappointment at the quarry being the target of this protest, given it has nothing to do with the rabbit farm business and has been affected by the action taken.

He continues: “I have 40 staff members who all have mortgages to pay, the business is brilliant for the Lincolnshire economy and limestone is truly environmental, so we should really get credit and don’t need to deal with things like this.

“They are trying to get us to cave in, but if we do they won’t stop, they will just move on to the next company they disagree with. Their aim is to stop livestock business entirely, until all we have left to eat are a few pulses and wheat.

“When you lock gates and stop people going about business, it doesn’t really sound like a peaceful protest for me. If you stand at the side politely holding a banner, it’s at least tolerable, but not stopping production like this. I would encourage them to get proper jobs, that would be nice wouldn’t it?”

Protesters’ counter argument to this was that the action was a bid to raise awareness of ‘who big suppliers such as Jewson and Travis Perkins’ are in business with, stating they do not have an issue with the quarry, but Kerry’s farm business alone.