'Peaceful vegan activist' Joey Carbstrong compared dairy farmers to Hitler and told them to kill themselves

Hayley Dixon

A "peaceful" vegan activist was imprisoned for gun crime and told farmers to kill themselves, The Daily Telegraph can reveal as he prepares for his biggest day of protests. 

Joey Carbstrong, who has more than 50,000 followers on social media and has become the face of the movement in recent weeks, also compared farmers to Hitler and said that what worked in stopping the Nazis "was tactical violence".

After hitting the headlines when he confronted Jeremy Vine over a ham sandwich, Carbstrong took to daytime television to publicly condemn "any death threats and any name calling", saying he practises "peaceful, non-violent advocacy" and insisting "I do not hate farmers". 

But as he is adopted as the unofficial spokesman for vegans across the country, The Daily Telegraph can reveal that in the past he had used a very different approach in which he said dairy farmers were "worse than Nazi Germany" and that the "non-existence" of people who eat fish "would benefit the planet". 

The Australian, whose real name is Joseph Armstrong, openly admits that he has a very colourful past and was involved in drugs and violence before converting to veganism during a spell in prison

After leaving school early he quickly developed a heavy drug addiction, starting with cannabis at the age of 14 and then turning to alcohol and methamphetamine at 15, ecstasy and hallucinogens at 16, and then heroin, cocaine and benzodiazepines.

He had various jobs in his home town of Adelaide, including at a car factory and as a building labourer, before going on welfare at the age of 22 as his drug dependency worsened. 

Joey Carbstrong is touring the UK taking part in vegan protests 

By his own admission, he became involved in the city’s gangs and court documents show he amassed a lengthy criminal record, including three assaults. 

He spent 18 months under house arrest and in a video he released last May - to celebrate the fact that he had been sober for four years - his mother Vania described him as "the most scariest creature I have ever come across". 

His brother, Josh, remembered how he had beaten him up and described him as "very stabby, very violent" before his sister Miki added: "I remember when you stabbed someone."

In September 2011 he was arrested when police found a loaded, sawn-off pump-action rifle down the front of his trousers, which he apparently planned to take to a drug deal. 

In his motel room, officers found 29 bullets hidden in a sock inside a chair lining, a flick-knife hidden beneath his mattress and another inside the hood of his jacket, as well as numerous luxury Rolex and Tag Heuer watches.  At the time, he had a methamphetamine habit of half a gram – or $AUS400 – a day.

Joey Carbstrong discussing animal rights with police during one protest 

For these offences, as well as giving police a false name and storing ammunition in his car and house, he eventually spent six months in jail.  

According to the sentencing remarks in South Australia’s District Court in May 2013, Judge Steven Millsteed accepted Carbstrong’s claim that he suffered from drug-induced paranoia  and had a “fantasy” that he needed to protect himself from “people you believed were after you”.

The YouTube star says that his time sober in prison helped him turn his life around.  

Carbstrong says that he has "evolved" since he began his activism two years ago, and he admits that he has removed around 150 of  his old videos because of their content, but until yesterday the messages he posted with some of them remained on one of his Facebook pages. 

One, posted in March 2016 alongside the video ETHICAL HUNTERS DESERVE A BULLET IN THE HEAD, he wrote: "I hope one of these bastards accidentally shoot one of their family members in the face."

He told another hunter "you will get yours in return one day" and said that: "If you eat dead fish you are a disgusting psychopath with no consideration for the ocean or other life forms, your non-existence would benefit the planet." 

One post on Joey Carbstrong's Facebook page

Another now-deleted video from 2016 was posted with the message: "Australian dairy farmers should do the cows a favour! #killyourselves."

In another rant Carbstrong said: "If you support dairy farmers you are supporting a regime worse than Nazi Germany. Hitler is still alive and he lives in the heart and mind of every animal abusing rapist slave-owning dairy farmer."

His aggressive style caused friction with other activists, who he claims complained to the social media site to have his posts removed. 

Describing them as "pacifist f------  vegans"", he posted a video in  April 2016 in which he asked whether holding up the peace sign would have stopped Hitler sending Jewish people to the gas chamber, concluding: "What worked was tactical violence." 

Another post on his Facebook page 

When approached about the posts, Carbstrong said that at the time he was a "loose cannon", adding: "I was very upset with the state of what was happening to animals and I wasn't a very experienced advocate."

He said that he no longer stands by the statements, which are distasteful and he will be deleting. 

 "In the last year I haven't advocated like that," he said. "Now I promote a peaceful, love-based approach in my advocacy. I never used to be like that, but I am now. Any of these things I will publicly condemn."

Carbstrong arrived in the UK in December, following a trip to Spain, and says that he has come to Britain as it is highly populated and he can reach more people. 

As part of his "UK tour" he has attended vigils in Liverpool, Manchester, Scotland, Newcastle, Teesside and Surrey. 

The events planned for next Friday and Saturday are set to be the most sustained campaigning over a 48-hour period. 

Joey Carbstrong during a protest in Liverpool 

On Friday he is due to attend protests at four slaughterhouses and an auction house in Birmingham and Wolverhampton followed by an outreach event in which they will play videos of slaughter to the public. 

They are expecting around 30 people to each protest  and an "effective activism" workshop hosted by Carbstrong the following day in Birmingham is fully booked, with around 50 attendees.

Carbstrong, who funds his action through donations from members of the public, said that he did not want to publicise or confirm any upcoming action as it meant that the slaughterhouses would shut down for the day. 

Maria Wilkes, who founded West Midlands Animal Save which is organising the action, said that it will be a day of peaceful protest in which they will try to comfort the animals in their final moments as well as "bearing witness" to their treatment.  

She said: "We don't normally do that many in one day, but we are really lucky to have Joey coming along as he is really great at talking to people and getting our message across." 

Ms Wilkes added: "We are not violent or abusive in any way. That is what we are trying to say - we don't want there to be any negativity to any humans or animals." 

NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes said: “Everyone has the right to express their point of view, but what is not acceptable is the bullying and harassment of farmers by vegan activists.

“The views of a small group of militant activists are not representative of public opinion at large. Fresh milk sales were up by 3.5 per cent in the past year, with 98 per cent of households buying the product.

“British farmers are rightly proud of the high animal welfare and environmental standards that we have in the UK, and of the way they produce food for the nation and the wider world.”

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes