A butcher at Toronto’s Antler Kitchen and Bar had animal rights activists seething after he carved up a large piece of meat in full view of protesters.
The protest, which took place last Friday and drew activists holding signs reading “Murder” and “Animals are not ours to use,” was originally meant to “debunk the ethical meat myth, which is what Antler is known for,” according to organizer Marni Jill Ugar, who spoke with Canada’s Global News on Tuesday.
Ugar says she and a group of activists were gathered outside the eatery when one of the restaurant’s chefs, whom Global News identified as Michael Hunter, brought out a large piece of meat and began butchering it next to the window. He reportedly disappeared into the restaurant afterward, only to return to the front window, where he proceeded to eat a cooked piece of meat.
“I suppose it was his way of taunting us or getting revenge,” said Ugar. “I [can’t] know because I haven’t had a conversation with him yet.”
Police were called to the site of the protest twice during the evening, though no arrests were made.
According to the Toronto Star, Friday’s protest marked the fourth time Ugar’s group gathered to protest outside the Antler, which specializes in game meats and other foraged ingredients. One of Ugar's previous Facebook videos further shows a group chanting "Shut it down" in front of the restaurant.
“We’re out there to educate the public. When people walk by, we hand them literature, we have dialogue,” Ugar told Global News. “This isn’t about attacking or targeting. It’s about educating and more than anything, taking a stand for the animals — they don’t have their own voice, that’s what we are for them.”
Twitter, meanwhile, remained divided on Ugar’s tactics, with some users defending the restaurant, others defending the protesters, and even more questioning why the group targeted a smaller, local business.
Ugar has since confirmed to Global News that she also protests larger restaurant corporations — as opposed to just local restaurants — through other activism channels.
She further revealed that Antler’s chef, Michael Hunter, had responded to one of her emails, offering to take her on one of his “foraging” hikes, though she has yet to respond.
“I’m not sure if I want to do that,” said Ugar. “I certainly would like to sit down and talk to him.”