Antler restaurant protest

Toronto restaurant shocks vegans protesting meat

Animal rights activists were horrified this weekend when the co-owner of a Dundas West restaurant they'd been protesting for weeks staged what appeared to be a counter-protest of his own.

The restaurant in question, Antler, is known for serving "local seasonal and wild foods" that are native to Canada, such as bison, boar, rabbit, duck and deer.

They also serve foie gras, which has long been condemned as especially cruel in terms of animal welfare.

Murder at dinner

A post shared by MackenzieMackenzie (@mac515mac) on

A group of local activists had arranged a protest in front of the restaurant on Friday evening, writing on Facebook that it would be their fourth of such protests outside Antler.

"Last week was the first vegan menu board that they've had thanks to activists taking a stand for animals," read the protest event's description.

"It's a great start, but only a start. Antler serves the cruel foie gras, they also farm animals meant to run in the wild like deer."

About an hour into their demonstration, protesters say that the restaurant's co-owner and chef, Michael Hunter, "brought out an entire animal leg and started cutting it up right in the window on a table reserved for diners."

Event organizer Marni Jill Ugar wrote later that night on Facebook that she felt Hunter had been "taunting" the group by cutting up a deer leg right in front of them.

"Once the deer was cooked Michael Hunter, owner of Antler, sat back down at the window to eat the dead deer," she wrote.

"Look in the window. Look at Michael Hunter. That deer was treated like a joke. That deer was an innocent animal who did not want to die."

Len Goldberg, another animal rights activist in Toronto, livestreamed about 20 minutes of the encounter.

At one point, a couple of police officers arrive and go into the restaurant. They are seen speaking to Hunter as he continues to prepare the meat.

After about a minute, Hunter packs up his tools and meat. Both he and the police officers are then seen smiling as they walk away.

"I'm not sure if the police were telling the owner to stop for trying to anger the protestors, or for ethical or health & safety violations," said Goldberg. "I just think this is very disturbing."

When asked about the protest, Antler said by email that "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," said Hunter.

"We simply want to carry on running a restaurant and have a peaceful environment where our guests can enjoy their food."

Lead photo by

Marni Jill Ugar


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