For weeks, animal rights activists had been protesting outside Toronto’s Antler restaurant.
Antler, as the name might suggest, specializes in local seasonal and wild foods, serving up pretty much any animal that calls Canada home. “Murder” and “Animals are not ours to use” were just some of the messages on display from the street through the restaurant’s front window.
Finally fed up with the protests, Antler co-owner and chef Michael Hunter responded with an unofficial counter-protest. According to the animal rights activists, Hunter “brought out an entire animal leg and started cutting it up right in the window on a table reserved for diners.”
Talk about a bold move.
He allegedly returned later to eat the grilled meat in plain view of the protesters through the window.
“We aren’t surprised by the protest as it’s not the first we have had,” wrote Antler’s public relations spokesperson Laura Fracassi in a short statement to Global News. “We will continue to stay true to our identity as a restaurant and to Chef Michael’s identity as a chef.”
Based on social media reaction, the protests have actually done more good than harm to the business. “Good for the owner. The protests have added one new patron to Antler,” wrote on Facebook user. “I’d never heard of this establishment. Now I’m going to look them up so I can give them my business,” said one person on Instagram.
While Antler does offer plenty of veggie options, it’s the brash nature of its meat messaging that has upset animal rights activists. One board outside the restaurant read, “Venison is the new kale,” while the menu features the notoriously cruel foie gras.
It’s unclear whether or not the protests will continue. “Last week was the first vegan menu board that they’ve had thanks to activists taking a stand for animals. It’s a great start, but only a start,” reads the Facebook event description for the most recent demonstration.