A chef's response to a protest against animal rights outside his restaurant last week. (Len Goldberg / Facebook)
The vegans planned their protest for the lunch break in the restaurant.
The group of animal rights activists was outraged that Antler Kitchen & Bar, a Toronto restaurant that highlights regional ingredients, serves foie gras and farmed meat "meant to run in the wild." So a group of them stood in front of it last week shouting "They have blood on their hands" and holding a banner read by MURDER in pink
Then came the counter-protest.
Michael Hunter, a cook and co-owner of the restaurant, appeared in his window with a raw deer leg and a sharp knife as he began to dissect the meat in full view of the protesters, some of whom later said they were days away were worried, according to news reports.
"I thought I would show it to them," Hunter told the Globe and Mail. "I will have my own protest."
The episode, which was videotaped by one of the protesters, has since attracted much attention in local news agencies and social media. The event site created by the activists for their protest has since been flooded with comments, many of which have harshly criticized their cause.
❗️Antler RESTAURANT OWNER TAUTES US BY DISCOVERING THE LEGENDS OF THE BRAIN WITH A VIEW TO OUR PROTEST; COPS INTERVENFor licensing this video, contact [email protected]
Posted by Len Goldberg on Friday, March 23, 2018
The chef is a keen hunter and although he is banned in Ontario rejects the restaurant's menu, which serves venison dishes such as deer, duck and wild turkey to game and food like mushrooms.
Dust began in December when an employee at Antler Kitchen & Bar scribbled a slogan on a sandwich board for the restaurant: "Venison is the new cabbage."
The sign angered Marni Ugar, an animal rights activist who runs a dog walking business, according to Globe and Mail. Ugar has made some research and explains that it denies the fact that the restaurant Gosseleber, which has been bred from the liver of fattened ducks or geese, has long suffered ailments, and the impression that people eat ethical meat there.
"I do not think there's anything like that," she told CTVNews. "It's very misleading, because they call these animals wild animals, the deer and the wild boar, but they are actually bred, so they do not live in the wild, they are only bred and killed."
The protests began small at first and then grew louder and bigger as demonstrators brought megaphones, Globe and Mail reported. Walk-in traffic to the restaurant began to suffer.
"I just felt helpless," Hunter told the Globe and Mail. "It hurts our business, I hoped it would fizzle away and disappear."
The restaurant tried to promote vegan dishes on the menu, like mushroom yakitori and sweet potato gyoza, but the activists were not satisfied.
"The goal is always a restaurant that gets completely vegan," Ugar told The Globe and Mail. "Reducing the animals they kill is not good enough for me."
So when the songs of the "murderer" disappeared at least four times outside his business last Friday, Hunter developed a new plan.
"That's us and what we do," he said. "They insult us, I will insult them, so I went and got a Rehbein."
Video shows how he cuts the leg, cuts the red meat from the bone, as demonstrators denounce the "recently killed deer" and the police asking at the protest what the cook is doing is legal. Once the officers enter the restaurant to talk to Hunter.
The Toronto police told CTV News they had been called to the restaurant twice, but had not issued any fees or tickets.
Despite Hunter's initial relief – "I felt as though I had stepped in for myself," he later said, regretting the move and saying he felt as though he was interfering in the activists' protest.
Ugar told CTV News that Hunter's counter-protest left her feeling "sad for a few days."
"He wanted to get us back, which is easy to do, we're only there because we love animals," she said.
"We were in shock," she said.
Ugar has offered to reduce the frequency of protests once a month when the restaurant displays a sign saying "Attention, the life of animals is their right to kill them is violent and unfair, quite same as it happens. "
The offer reflects the image of a butcher's shop in Berkeley, California, whose owners post the sign in a window after four months of animal rights protest
Hunter plans to introduce and has a vegan tasting menu Ugar has been invited to search with him, but she still has to respond to the offer, Globe and Mail reported.
He did not respond to a request
"Our identity as a restaurant is known throughout the city, as is our ethical farming and foraging initiatives," he wrote in an e-mail to the local media. "We stand by our restaurant identity and the identity of myself as a cook."
The controversy has apparently attracted at least one potential customer.
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