The morality of consuming animal products is a hot topic. Speaking as a vegetarian of five years, I’m of the opinion that people should be allowed to live and let live, and I would never judge someone for eating meat even though it’s something I chose not to do.
My lapse attitude, however, is not shared by the majority of herbivores, particularly vegans, many of whom take every available opportunity to spread their message. But in my experience, education is the way forward; protests simply serve to antagonize people.
A recent example of this came in the form of a group of vegan protestors who decided to set up camp outside a Canadian restaurant called Antler, which specialized in serving “local seasonal and wild foods” – namely, bison, boar, rabbit, duck, and deer.
The controversial foie gras is also an option at the restaurant which, despite its heavily meat-centered menu, recently introduced a small number of vegan options. Despite this change, vegans still weren’t happy and decided that it was worth protesting outside.
The vegans described Antler’s vegan options as a “great start” but wanted to take a stand against the fact that the restaurant “serves farm animals meant to run in the wild like deer”, and this angered one of the restaurant’s chefs who staged a protest of his own in retaliation.
The restaurant’s co-owner and chef, Michael Hunter (ironic name). In response to the protestors, Michael “brought out an entire animal leg and started cutting it up right in the window on a table reserved for diners”.
Marni Jill Ugar, the protest’s organizer, wrote on Facebook, “Once the deer was cooked Michael Hunter, owner of Antler, sat back down at the window to eat the dead deer. Look in the window. Look at Michael Hunter. That deer was treated like a joke.”
Ugar continued, “That deer was an innocent animal who did not want to die.”
Antler has now issued a statement about the incident which read, “Our identity as a restaurant is well known throughout the city as is our ethical farming and foraging initiatives. While we would much rather not be the focus of these protests, we are not at all surprised.”
“We simply want to carry on running a restaurant and have a peaceful environment where our guests can enjoy their food.”
The vegan protesters, however, still hope that one day Antler will “transition to a fully vegan operation that is every bit as prosperous for the owner and better for all beings”.