spanish pig toronto

Toronto store is getting slammed by protestors and it isn't even open yet

A protest advocating for animal rights took place outside of a meat and seafood shop in Toronto on Sunday, despite the fact that the store hasn't even opened yet. 

The Spanish Pig is a Canadian online retailer that sells authentic Spanish food, including chorizo, high-quality meats like Ibérico Ham, preserved seafood, pantry goods, and a wide selection of charcuterie board kits. 

The online company has been around for three years, but plans to open its very first store on Roncesvalles Avenue in early May. 

Although the shop is still weeks away from opening, several animal rights activists took issue with the storefront's graphics that were displayed through the window, which depicted pigs and an octopus. 

Spanish Pig founder Jonathan Larrad told blogTO that while it's unfortunate that the protest took place, it gives him an opportunity to discuss the quality of the products the shop sells. 

"I'm quite grateful almost for the protest because it highlights the fact that the meat and seafood that I'm selling is sustainable and is free-range," he explained. 

Protestors were seen holding signs that read, "it's not food it's violence," while others were pictured painting the words "animals are not products" on newspapers taped onto the storefront.

"I really do truly respect protests, I think that's the great thing about Toronto is that they have the platform to do so," Larrad told blogTO. "But it's just slightly ironic because I wasn't there to address the concerns they had, and B, even if I did address their concerns, it would be around the sustainability of the canned seafood." 

The event was attended by Direct Action Everywhere, the Animal Save Movement, and the @chalkingvegan, who drew an octopus onto the pavement outside of the shop to raise awareness about an octopus farm that's set to open in the Canary Islands. 

In order to accommodate some of the protests, Larrad said the shop decided to remove the drawings of the pigs and octopus in order to prevent any further tension. 

"It's a little bit disheartening and baffling that they would've chosen a shop that sells sustainable seafood and free-range meat," he explained. 

Despite their contrasting views, Larrad said that he remains open to conversations with the activists, and acknowledges their right to protest. 

The peaceful protest resulted in no damages to the property, and although police were present at one point, no charges were laid. 

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert


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