Earlier this week The Kings Arms in Fleggburgh, Norfolk, was forced to withdraw foie gras from its Valentine’s menu, after coming under pressure from the many people who are outraged by such cruel products. Foie gras means ‘fatty liver’ and is made by force feeding geese until their livers are diseased; its production is so cruel that it has been banned in the UK, though disgracefully its sale is still permitted.
In response to its decision to sell foie gras, The Kings Arms received a large number of messages and comments via social media in opposition. The pub’s management say that they also received 20 to 30 false bookings and a number of ‘threatening’ phone calls.
The pub claims that some of the calls and messages were not just threatening in tone but actual “death threats” – i.e. explicit and direct threats to kill staff members if foie gras remained on the menu. The Kings Arms’ allegations stand in marked contrast, however, to the response of Norfolk Police, who said that they would not be investigating further as “no direct threats had been made”. Repeated requests to The Kings Arms for evidence of the alleged death threats have not resulted in the presentation of a single piece of evidence.
The Kings Arms’ owner Mark Dixon has today repeated the death threat allegations in the national press, giving an interview to The Telegraph in which he claims that within a few hours of animal campaigners finding out about the foie gras, the pub “got around 200 death threats”.
If what The Kings Arms says is true, it seems very odd that the police have chosen not to pursue further action. The police take malicious communications very seriously and there have been a number of prosecutions in the last few years of individuals who have made such threats. Documentary evidence of the death threats must surely exist, considering the huge number that are alleged to have been made, and so questions must be asked about why the pub has not presented this evidence to the police.
If Mark Dixon and The Kings Arms’ management are instead making the death threat allegations up, then they have not only lied to the public but also to the police – wasting valuable police time as well as taxpayers’ money. Wasting police time by making false allegations is a criminal offence punishable by a fine or up to six months’ imprisonment.
The Kings Arms’ allegations serve to undermine those who are against animal cruelty and prepared to speak out on the issue. Many readers do not look past the purposely sensational newspaper headlines, and so a large number of people now believe that death threats were made by animal campaigners against The Kings Arms, even when it seems likely that the pub fabricated the allegations.
Such smears discredit the growing animal rights movement and so it is very important to expose them as false. If this article is incorrect and their allegations are true, I challenge Mark Dixon and The Kings Arms to prove it by immediately presenting their evidence.
Update: February 17th
The Kings Arms have still not provided any evidence for the death threats and since this article was published have implied in a Facebook comment that all 200 alleged threats were made anonymously by telephone, therefore implying no tangible evidence for the threats exists. This claim is highly questionable, for two reasons.
Firstly, even if there was no documentary evidence for the 200 supposed telephoned death threats, the police would have investigated further by approaching the relevant telecommunication providers for more information. Instead, Norfolk Police immediately stated that they would not be making any further investigations as “no direct threats” had been made.
Secondly, The Kings Arms’ subsequent claim that all 200 death threats were made by telephone conflicts with an earlier statement made on February 8th, in which they confirmed that the threats were made by telephone and Facebook private message (see the screenshot below of a comment that is still visible on their Facebook page):
If death threats were made by Facebook private message, the police could easily investigate and attempt to trace the culprit/s. The Kings Arms could also easily provide the evidence requested by myself and others by simply taking a screenshot.