The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Vegans out for blood as goat farm is targeted

The Countryside Alliance calls for the Government to do more about fake reviews as activists launch a campaign against a Wiltshire farm shop


The Wiltshire shop specialises in goat products

The Countryside Alliance has called for the posting of malicious fake reviews to be made a criminal offence. This news comes following the targeting of a gourmet farm shop in Wiltshire by ‘militant’ vegan activists.

Laura Corbett, the owner of the Gourmet Goat Farmer near the village of Avebury, was deeply distressed when she received a tip-off that her popular café and shop, which specialises in goat products, was about to become the target of a fake review campaign orchestrated by disgruntled vegans.

Ms Corbett was sent a post by two separate moles who had infiltrated a private Facebook group of 650 people called ‘Vegan Wiltshire’, where an activist called Ian Somerville had asked followers: “Can we have some negative reviews of this place, please? There’s no way an animal farm should be able to enjoy a five-star rating.”

Ms Corbett decided to go public with the truth about the activists’ plot, offering to meet them in person and give them a tour of her farm. Despite this, Gourmet Goat Farmer still received a high volume of negative reviews from the group.

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance said: “Vegan campaigners targeting businesses with fake online reviews has been a major concern to the Alliance for many years. Activists know this and use the opportunity to target businesses with anonymous fake reviews, which can be devastating to their trade.”

The Countryside Alliance is now calling for the practice to be outlawed in legislation, by creating a new offence of ‘false communications’. MPs discussed the Online Safety Bill again this week as it nears completion. The bill looks likely to become law without addressing fake reviews. In the detailed overview of the bill, there is not yet a single mention of fake reviews.

Economic Times published an article last year discussing the phenomenon of fake reviews damaging businesses. Customers in New York were blackmailing restaurants by threatening one-star reviews unless they received gift certificates or free meals. Tripadvisor identified 1.3m reviews as fake in 2022, while Trustpilot removed 2.7m fake reviews in 2021.