The family-of-five bullied for being VEGAN: Parents say they’ve lost friends and have become target for trolls after deciding to go meat free
- Jacqui Robins, husband Ryan and kids Skye, 15, Skipp and Cadan, five, are vegan
- Trolls say diet is disrespectful to Ryan’s late father, a ‘highly-respected’ butcher
- Family say bullies regularly wave meat in 14-year-old Skipp’s face at school
A family-of-five said they have lost friends and their 14-year-old son is being bullied because they all went vegan.
Jacqui and Ryan Robins, and their three children Skye, 15, Skipp and Cadan, five, don’t eat milk or dairy.
The family said they have lost friends, are victims of online trolling, and bullies wave meat in 14-year-old Skipp’s face at school.
Jacqui (third from the left) and Ryan Robins (second from the right) and their three children Skye, 15 (right), Skipp, 14 (left), and Cadan, five (second from the left) are all vegan. They say they have lost friends and their 14-year-old son is being bullied because of their diet
Mrs Robins, 44, said that other parents turn their backs on her when she goes to her children’s schools.
Mr Robins, 37, who posts vegan activist images to Facebook, has been told by trolls that his dietary choices are disrespectful to his late father – a ‘highly-respected’ butcher.
But the family, from Probus, Cornwall, say vegans aren’t ‘militant’ or ‘crazy’ and all their children have made their own decision, even five-year-old Cadan.
It began when Mrs Robins went vegetarian at eight years old after realising for the first time that animals went into her shepherd’s pie.
Mrs Robins, 44, (second from the right) said that other parents turn their backs on her when she goes to her children’s schools. Mr Robins, 37, (third from the left) who posts vegan activist images to Facebook, has been told by trolls that his dietary choices are disrespectful to his late father – a ‘highly-respected’ butcher. The family are pictured together
But two years ago, after watching ‘horrifying’ documentaries and researching the ‘reality’ of dairy-farming processes, the nutritionist mum-of-three decided to ditch dairy, too.
She said: ‘I saw a video that went into the reality of the dairy industry. I was horrified and straight away I didn’t want anything to do with the dairy products.
‘I thought, if I couldn’t cope with watching it happen, but I was buying the product, I was inadvertently funding it.’
Her son Skipp soon followed suit, after watching 2017 documentary The Land of Hope and Glory – all about the UK’s farming practices.
Nutrisionist Mrs Robins said: ‘All of the kids have made their own decisions.
The family often post information about food processes on social media, which has led to relationships with friends and family breaking down entirely. Pictured: A picture of piglets and pork lunch meat Mrs Robins shared to Facebook
‘Some parents say ‘you’re not having that and that’, but we wanted the kids to understand why we do it, take on the information and decide for themselves.’
Mrs Robins said five-year-old Cadan understands because ‘he knows that the baby animals suffer and are taken from their mummies and he doesn’t believe in that.’
She added: ‘Passion is misunderstood to be aggression or hatred.
‘There seems to be some kind of divide where people meet vegans with aggression and resistance, when you are just trying to raise awareness about practices that people should know about.’
Mr Robins was brought up surrounded by the farming industry and was a frequent visitor to slaughterhouses.
He said: ‘Dad was a highly respected butcher and worked part-time on a farm and neighbours would bring animals around to be skinned and plucked.
‘It wasn’t abnormal for me to be around dead animals for much of my life. ‘I would help put animals on trailers and get the animals into the slaughterhouses and it was all normal to me.’
Mr Robins initially went vegan for health reasons – after his father passed away, and Mrs Robins’s mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
He said: ‘I wanted us and our family to live a life as healthy and as nutritiously as possible, so that we could live as long as possible.’
Mrs Robins shared the post: ‘You can never “win” an argument with a vegan… Because the argument is never with the vegan; it is with your conscience’
But now, his perspective on things have changed and he says his main reason is ‘helping to save the animals and saving the planet.’
Skye said that it was ‘hard’ to cut out some of her favourite foods, admitting: ‘I missed things like cheese and whipped cream to begin with.
‘But we have vegan cheese and dairy-free whipped cream alternatives.’
And Skipp added: ‘I struggled a little bit with the stuff we didn’t look into, but once we researched and saw where our food was coming from it was easy.’
They claim that their problem is not with people’s decision to eat meat, but the refusal to understand the processes behind meat and dairy, in order to make an informed decision.
The family often post information about food processes on social media, which has led to relationships with friends and family breaking down entirely.
Mrs Robins said: ‘I think that’s corrupt to sell a product without transparency.’
‘So when I started posting about it and raising awareness, I lost a lot of my friendships – because they were telling me to be quiet about it.
‘Passion is misunderstood to be aggression or hatred. I have been to parent’s evenings and had people turn their backs to me.’
‘They would rather do that than engage in a conversation that will make them feel uncomfortable.’
And the couple haven’t spoken to Mrs Robins’s sister in over a year, who she used to be really close to.
Skipp, who has been bullied and regularly has meat waved in his face at school, said that he keeps quiet about his vegan-ism when he is there, but is still targeted because of it.
Skye and Skipp say that their separate schools are also good at catering for them.
Skipp said: ‘My school is really good, they make me a vegan meal and snack everyday and they make me cakes quite often.’
Skye added: ‘At first for my school it was a shock as there weren’t any other vegans, but its got a lot better.’
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