Vet sent horrific racist letter claiming ‘there’s never been a black Englishman’

A vet was sent an horrific racist letter telling him: "You’re black, get over it."

Navaratnam Partheeban was born in Scotland, educated in Edinburgh and has dedicated his life to British agriculture.

But the 36-year-old revealed he has been targeted because of his skin colour by some in the industry, including one farmer who refused him on to his land.

The vet, who is senior livestock production lecturer at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, branded the message ‘unacceptable and shocking’.

The university has voiced its support for Mr Partheeban, while the Labour party’s deputy leader Tom Watson tweeted in solidarity with him.

The anonymous letter, which was sent from Yorkshire, reads: "This country is full of you moronic b*****ds.

"If you don’t like it, go back to your parents’ world. You may think you are British but there never has been a black English man and there never will be.

"If a dog is born in a stable it does not become a horse. Your [sic] black, get over it."

The tirade was sent in response to a column Mr Partheeban wrote in Farmers’ Weekly magazine calling for more tolerance in the agricultural industry.

He laid bare the problem of racism suffered by ethnic minority workers at all levels of the farming sector.

Mr Partheeban, who lives in Cricklade, said he is thankful for the ‘huge amount of support’ he has received since sharing the letter.

He added "It exposes the extreme end of the spectrum of a problem that has to be addressed.

"I teach the new generation of students who want to get involved in farming here in Gloucestershire and work alongside some of the farmers here.

"It is an industry I love and am proud of. The vast majority of people I meet treat me with warmth, friendship and respect.

"It is incidences like this that increase the awareness and start the conversation to help lead to change."

He hopes his children will be able to enter the industry without experiencing similar abuse.

"We have so many people in this country from a mixture of backgrounds who may want to be part of our industry.

"And so my aim is to try and create an atmosphere that encourages these people to join farming or veterinary practice and know they can succeed.

"We need role models for people to aspire to become."

In his original article, Mr Partheeban wrote "The vast majority of people have been truly amazing and have treated me with warmth, friendship and respect.

"But, unfortunately, there have been situations which have led me to feel isolated and uncomfortable. My experiences include having had a farmer refuse to have me on farm based on my skin colour, hearing a student describe people from another ethnicity in a defamatory way, and hearing qualified vets use racist terminology in conversation.

"Excuses such as ‘but I have a black friend’ or ‘but I have been to India’ have been used as justifications for certain people’s attitudes."

Gloucestershire Police has confirmed it is investigating the handwritten letter which contained racial abuse under the Malicious Communications Act.

A spokeswoman said: "We received a report at 1.30pm on November 4 that a man had received a handwritten letter which contained racial abuse.

"We are now investigating this under the Malicious Communications Act."

West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson wrote on Twitter "Navaratnam’s tweet appeared on my timeline. I don’t know him but I’d like to meet him one day and learn about farming from him. And I’d really like people to show him solidarity."

Gloucestershire county councillor Joe Harris, a Lib Dem, said he was ‘absolutely disgusted’ by the letter.

"We have a kind and generous community in Cirencester and our community will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. We stand with Navaratnam."

The Royal Agricultural University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joanna Price, said "We are proud of our senior lecturer Navaratnam Partheeban’s campaigning work against prejudice in all its forms and he has our complete support.

"The abhorrent views in the letter he courageously shared highlight the need for universities, colleges, schools, industry, policy-makers and other organisations to work together to fight ignorance and prejudice with education and to promote diversity and tolerance."

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