ANIMAL rights activists have teamed up with a high-profile vegan to stage a peaceful protest outside an abattoir in the region.

Joey Carbstrong stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the protestors outside J A Jewitt Meat Ltd, a family-run facility located just off the busy A688 bypass on the outskirts of Spennymoor.

A former gang member and drug addict, Mr Carbstrong has become a celebrity in the vegan world after transforming his life to become a vegan educator and animal liberation activist.

The Darlington and Teesside branch of The Save Movement was thrilled to welcome Mr Carbstrong, an Australian, to the region, with many members also attending a special workshop he delivered at The Green Room in Middlesbrough later that day.

Mr Carbstrong, who is touring the UK giving talks, said: “Slaughterhouses are usually on the outskirts of towns and hidden away. I am sure if they had glass walls not so many people would be eating flesh.

“We are here to bear witness to the animals being sent to slaughter. We take their photos and show them to the public so they know where the meat they are eating comes from. These animals are individuals and they want to live.

“We don’t need meat to survive and we hope to make people think more about the food choices they make.”

More than 20 protesters attended the vigil, many carrying placards with pictures of pigs and lambs.

One held a sign saying “No hate for truck drivers. We are here to show love for the animals.”

A campaigner explained: “We can get quite a hostile reaction from the truck drivers, but we are not here to criticise them and call them names. We just ask them to stop to allow us a few minutes with the animals.”

A spokesperson for J A Jewitt Meat Ltd declined to comment.

To find out more about the branch, search for Darlington and Teesside Animal Save on Facebook.