If making snowflakes melt was a competition, one Canadian chef would have just taken home the gold.
The owner of a Toronto restaurant responded to “animal rights” protesters who had demonstrated outside his business for several days by cutting a fresh deer leg and then eating a seared steak by the window where they could see him, Calgary Herald reports.
— GOAT Moves (@GoatMoves) March 27, 2018
Michael Hunter of the Toronto-based Antler Kitchen and Bar had reportedly been visited by protesters for about five days, even after he announced the addition of vegan options to his menu.
Hunter didn’t say a word or even look at protesters on Friday as he carved the deer leg at a table in front of the window. “He has brought the leg of a recently murdered deer to this dining area,” said an activist who filmed the incident.
Later, the chef returned with a steak, presumably from the venison he had butchered, and ate in front of the protesters.
At one point, police who had been onsite to supervise the protests entered the restaurant to speak with Hunter. The protesters mused that the owner was violating health codes by cutting raw meat in the eating area.
Toronto police told the Calgary Herald they didn’t ask Hunter to stop what he was doing. “It’s his restaurant he can do what he wants, really,” said Sgt. Philip Townley.
The “animal rights” advocates held signs that read “murder” and “animals are not ours to use.” The group chanted sayings like “Antler has blood on their hands.”
One of the protesters, Marni Ugar, said she was “shocked” and “sad” at Hunter’s display.
“For me it’s just an animal and it’s an animal that didn’t want to die,” she said.
“We were obviously getting to him,” Ugar added. “Because we’re impacting his business by standing on the sidewalk. I assume — I actually can’t know — this was his way of getting revenge on us.”
The protests targeted Antler because it’s smaller establishment. “I won’t get through to [the bigger restaurants],” Ugar said.
In an email statement to the Calgary Herald, Hunter defended his restaurant’s “ethical” use of local game and humanely raised livestock.
“We are operating business as usual. Our identity as a restaurant is well known throughout the city as is our ethical farming and foraging initiatives.”
Hunter has criticized factory farming in the past. Butcher shop owner Peter Sanagan spoke highly of the chef.
“He’s a good guy. It’s a weird one for me, I absolutely think it’s people’s right to protest. I also think it could be misguided going after the smaller businesses. There’s terrible, terrible shit going on in large, factory farm-type operations and the type of grocery store chains that sell that kind of product.”
The protesters said they want Hunter to visit a slaughterhouse with them. Their ultimate goal is for all restaurants to go completely vegan.
After the deer leg-cutting incident, Hunter reportedly sent the activists an invitation to go foraging with him. Ugar said she’s unlikely to accept the offer.
Some heroes wear aprons https://t.co/8eGRWNOkML
— Lee C.J. Sobotka (@LCJS) March 27, 2018
I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s automatically earned a place in my pantheon of heroes. https://t.co/qPG5ATdtLY
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) March 27, 2018
This chef is an absolute savage 😂😎 https://t.co/imn8S3yrtQ
— Corben B. (@becker_corben) March 27, 2018
Excellent response by Mr.Hunter! Protesters have a right to protest, and people have a right to eat meat. Difference is, this guy is trying to run his business, and they’re attempting go to ruin it? What’s the next plan, protesting wolves to stop eating deer?
— Christopher Bankmann (@CBankmann) March 28, 2018
The right to protest shouldn’t extend 5 protests at one restaurant. That is harassment. He isn’t Toronto’s only meat-serving restaurant. Why is his singled-out for repeated attack? I doubt the protestors were as aggressive with McDs or The Keg.
— Dion Simmonds (@simmonds_dion) March 28, 2018
Good for him! Is it against the law to eat meat? The vegans expressed their opinions and so did he…that’s fair as I see it
— Stefanie Austen (@StefAusten) March 28, 2018
Like a BOSS!
— Qiuli Han (@solohan83) March 28, 2018