A chef riled a group of vegan protesters by carving a deer leg in the window of his restaurant while they demonstrated outside on Friday night.
Chef Michael Hunter is the co-owner of Antler in Toronto. The restaurant specializes in locally farmed ingredients and includes wild boar and venison on its menu.
For weeks, vegan protesters have descended on the restaurant with signs accusing it of murder and animal cruelty.
On Friday night, they came back with an enormous banner reading ‘murder’ and signs which included one which read: ‘Chickens display compassion to others suffering. Can you?’
Hunter took a stand by moving out of the kitchen towards a window seat, bringing with him a large leg of deer.
Chef Michael Hunter of Antler in Toronto is pictured butchering a deer’s leg at the window table of his restaurant in front of a group of horrified vegan protesters who have been staging demonstrations outside his eatery for weeks
As the protesters complained, he slapped it down in front of them and began cutting it up. They filmed him as he set to work on the meat and gave an incredulous commentary.
‘The owner has brought the leg of a recently murdered animal to the table.
‘He is going out of his way to show us the leg. What animal would that be guys?
‘What he’s doing here to mock us, the owner of this restaurant, has gone out of his way to mock this legal peaceful protest at Antler restaurant by bringing the leg of an animal to this table where people are only supposed to be dining,’ said one of the protesters as they filmed Hunter.
In the background, other protesters attempted to win sympathy from passersby.
One person, who was confused by their outrage, asked: ‘They’re murdering people?’
‘No, they’re murdering animals!’ one of the protesters said back. ‘Is this against a health code? Is this legal!?’ another said.
As a customer tried to enter the restaurant, another protester shouted: ‘Don’t go in there look at what they’re doing! They’re trying to taunt us!’
The group shouted that he was butchering a ‘recently murdered deer’ and tried to warn passersby not to go into the restaurant
Diners inside the restaurant shared photographs and videos of the activists as they interrupted their meal
The vegan protesters were pleased when two police officers arrived. They thought they would side with them but the officers instead went inside, chatted to Hunter, then left with a smile and told the activists: ‘It’s his restaurant, he can do what he likes’
After slicing up the meat, Hunter went back to the kitchen to cook it then returned to eat it in front of the protesters
After the falling out on Friday, Hunter added vegan dishes to his menu. He also invited the vegans to go foraging with him but they did not accept his invitation
Two police officers then arrived and entered the restaurant to speak to Hunter as the protesters remained outside.
They spoke with him for several minutes, leading the protesters to think they would intervene. At the end of their conversation, they and Hunter both smiled and laughed.
The protester providing the running commentary, at that point, said: ‘I do see them smiling. That’s unfortunate.’
After cutting up the meat, Hunter retreated to the kitchen to cook it.
He then returned to the window seat 30 minutes later and ate it in front of the group.
‘It shocked me. It made me feel really sad. For me it’s just an animal and it’s an animal that didn’t want to die.’ protester Marni Ugar told The National Post.
Hunter did not respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiry to the restaurant on Wednesday.
On its website, the restaurant describes its commitment to ethically sourcing local produce and meat.
The protesters have been descending on the small restaurant for weeks. They say they do not want to do the same at chain restaurants because their voices won’t be heard
Antler specializes in locally foraged ingredients and Canadian wild game. Above, its Valentine’s Day menu
Among items on its menu is an $18 Wild Game burger made from boar, bison and deer, and a $42 cut of Ontario venison.
In light of his row with the protesters, he has added vegan dishes to his menu and asked them to go foraging with him.
Social media did not sympathize with the vegans, nor did customers inside the restaurant who were eating when they staged their protest.
Gordito Ślim tweeted: ‘I understand peaceful protesting but you’re clearly disrupting business making people feel judged unwelcome to eat “right outside” of owners establishment.
‘Wouldn’t this be classified as disrupting the peace? Why target a small business and not monopoly food chain?’
Another supporter of Antler said: ‘Antler is one of my fave restaurants. Vegans are free to protest peacefully outside.
‘But Chef Hunter (yes that’s his name) also has the right to carve a deer windowside in his own restaurant.’