News, Culture & Society

Vegan activists protest in busy Perth barbeque restaurant before being chased out by a furious diner

By Nic White for Daily Mail Australia 

A vegan activist who invaded the field during an AFLW match has emerged from court with her mouth taped shut and animal slaughter sounds blaring.

Tash Peterson, 26, ran on to Perth Stadium in the first-ever women’s Western Derby on February 15, holding a black flag reading ‘right to rescue’.

The serial protester ran around for about a minute before she was tackled by Fremantle midfielder Kiara Bowers long enough for security to catch up.

Peterson walked free from Perth Magistrate’s Court with a spent conviction and a $1,800 fine over trespassing charges.

Peterson, 26, ran onto the oval with a black flag that read ‘right to rescue’ at Perth’s Optus Stadium, late in the first half of the Fremantle and West Coast game on February 15

Tash Peterson emerged from Perth Magistrate’s Court with her mouth taped shut and animal slaughter sounds blaring, alongside another activist

She and a fellow activist stood on the court steps for several minutes with black duct tape over their mouths holding signs reading ‘it’s time to listen to the animals’.

Peterson refused to answer questions from reporters while the squeals of cows and pigs being slaughtered in Western Australian abattoirs played from nearby speakers.

‘We’re choosing not to speak today because we want people to look at what’s really happening, we’re not here for ourselves,’ a third activist said.

‘We are just a mouthpiece for the animals and we will not stop until people see what is really going on.’

Peterson told Daily Mail Australia after the protest that her sentence was ‘reasonable and expected’ but wouldn’t deter her from more protests.

‘As long as animals are continuing to be exploited, it will not deter me from speaking up for them,’ she said.

‘If society ignores their screams, we will continue to defend and speak out for them.’

Peterson rose to infamy with a series of stunts in supermarkets where she dressed as an abattoir worker covered in fake blood holding a lamb

Peterson rose to infamy with a series of stunts in supermarkets where she dressed as an abattoir worker covered in fake blood holding a lamb

Fremantle midfielder Kiara Bowers made short work of Peterson, tackling her and holding her shirt while security guards rushed to detain the vegan activist

Fremantle midfielder Kiara Bowers made short work of Peterson, tackling her and holding her shirt while security guards rushed to detain the vegan activist

Peterson rose to infamy with a series of stunts in supermarkets where she dressed as an abattoir worker covered in fake blood holding a lamb.

Peterson at the time of the Perth Stadium invasion said her arrest was actually helpful to her cause.

‘This was an opportunity to be a powerful voice for animals with a big audience and make them listen to us,’ she told Daily Mail Australia at the time.

‘It’s so effective because everyone wants to know “why are you doing something so insane?” and it gets people talking and thinking.’

Peterson said she was surprised how easy it was to get on to the ground from the grandstand and security were unable to stop her.

‘When I first got there I did freak out because it looked like a massive jump, but once I got over the fence it was easy,’ she said.

‘There was security all around the oval so I was concerned that they were going to get me straight away but I got through.

‘It couldn’t have worked out better, really.’

In livestreamed footage of the protest, Peterson can be seen jumping the fence onto the oval with her flag in hand

Wearing tights that said 'vegan booty' and a 'right to rescue' crop top, the activist made a beeline to the centre of the pitch, where she was tackled by Kiera Bowers

In livestreamed footage of the protest, Peterson can be seen jumping the fence onto the oval with her flag in hand.

Peterson leaves an earlier court appearance with a toy lamb under her arm and a sign referencing Australia's bushfire crisis

Peterson leaves an earlier court appearance with a toy lamb under her arm and a sign referencing Australia’s bushfire crisis

Australian stadiums have increased security over the years to stop pitch invaders, including stationing guards just metres apart around the fence.

However, Peterson was able to climb over the fence, jump off a ledge, recover from a pulled muscle and start running without being noticed or stopped.

Peterson said her stunt was a success because dozens of people came up to her outside the ground to ask about her cause.

‘Some asked what the right to rescue was, many just congratulated me and shook my hand,’ she said.

‘Two sheep farmers asked me: do I know where my food comes from?

‘(It) led to a big conversation on animal rights.’

Peterson said one of the farmers was initially she was very angry but settled down as they discussed it.

‘She said many farmers treat their animals well and humanely. I told her that I don’t doubt many truly love their animals but in the end they’re all sent to have their throats slit,’ she said.

‘I am not against farmers, I am against the system that has indoctrinated us to believe it is OK and humane to use animals for food and other forms of exploitation when it is unnecessary.’

'As you can see Tash Peterson has just been taken off of the field now. She's likely to be arrested,' the woman recording the video said. Ms Peterson was served a three-year ban from Optus Stadium and pulled a leg muscle from running on the field

‘As you can see Tash Peterson has just been taken off of the field now. She’s likely to be arrested,’ the woman recording the video said. Ms Peterson was served a three-year ban from Optus Stadium and pulled a leg muscle from running on the field

DXE posted another video of Ms Peterson, filmed before the match, in which she explained what the groups 'right to rescue' campaign

DXE posted another video of Ms Peterson, filmed before the match, in which she explained what the groups ‘right to rescue’ campaign

The protest was to support fellow activist James Marsden, the leader of animals rights group Direct Action Everywhere, who with another activist was on trial for allegedly stealing a calf from a farm last year.

‘We believe that if an animal is sick, suffering, or dying, we have the right to help them,’ she said.

Marsden, 25, was later handed a 12-months suspended sentence and Arkadiusz Swiebodzinski, 26, fined $5,000.

They were found guilty of breaking into White Rocks Dairy, near Bunbury, WA, and stealing a a $1,500 fresian calf in October 2018.

‘By no means does this mean that animal rights activists are going to stop what we’re doing,’ Warden told reporters outside court.

‘This is just the start of the Right to Rescue campaign, so you’re going to be hearing a lot more about that.’

In livestreamed footage of the pitch invasion, Ms Peterson can be seen jumping the fence onto the oval with her flag in hand.

James Warden, 25, (pictured) who is accused of raiding farms and stealing livestock, has defiantly told of how he would rather go to prison than apologise

James Warden, 25, (pictured) who is accused of raiding farms and stealing livestock, has defiantly told of how he would rather go to prison than apologise

Ms Peterson (pictured) made her protest in Western Australia, telling shoppers meat is murder

Ms Peterson (pictured) made her protest in Western Australia, telling shoppers meat is murder 

Wearing tights that said ‘vegan booty’ and a ‘right to rescue’ crop top, the activist made a beeline to the centre of the pitch, where she was tackled by Bowers.

Dockers star Bowers was the best on ground in the 45-point Fremantle victory, making 13 disposals and 18 tackles.

‘We’re here to play football and we just wanted to get on with the game,’ Bowers said after the landslide victory.

The star player joked that her tackle of the protester should have counted as an extra tackle, as she was just three off beating the AFLW tackle record of 21.

DXE posted another video of Ms Peterson, filmed before the match, in which she explained what the groups ‘right to rescue’ campaign.

The video included footage of Warden carrying the calf he stole around his shoulders.

‘My friends rescued a bobby calf named Theodore from a dairy farm here in WA. Theodore was taken to a sanctuary to live out the rest of his life in peace but when the police found out, they took him back to the farm,’ Peterson said in the clip.

‘Bobby calves like Theodore are often killed at just five days old.’

The 26-year-old vegan activist was dressed in bloodied clothes

She called on the big supermarkets to tell the truth about where their meat really comes from

 She was dressed in bloodied clothes and called on the big supermarkets to ‘tell the truth about where their meat really comes from’

On Christmas Eve last year, Peterson entered supermarkets with a stereo blasting cow and pig noises – calling on the supermarkets to reveal where their meat ‘really comes from’.

Peterson, dressed in a bloodied apron with a fake butchered pig’s head under her arm and wearing a face mask, made her protest at Western Australia stores.

The back of her shirt read: ‘Your ”food” fought for their life. That should leave a bad taste in your mouth.’

The 26-year-old held a sign which demanded: ‘Coles/Woolworths Tell them the truth.’

Peterson made her way to the butcher section of the supermarkets and stood silently as a stereo blasted sounds of cows and pigs being slaughtered, much to the displeasure of customers shopping for their Christmas meats.

She repeated the stunt days before Australia Day where she spoke against festive bardeques and blamed meat eaters for the bushfire crisis.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk