Visit the Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley and you'll see an odd sign in the window. "Attention: Animals lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done," it reads. The California butcher shop put it up as part of a deal with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which for four months had been staging protests at the store involving fake blood and plastic wrap to make sometimes barely-clothed protesters look like cuts of meat. The protests used to happen every time the butcher shop hosted a butchering class, but they've slowed now that the sign is up. Hanging the sign was part of a list of demands the group gave the store, and the owners agreed to it, the Washington Post reports. "The sign was the most palatable of all the options brought to the table. It was the least impactful to our business," one of the owners tells NBC Bay Area.
DxE—which believes in "total animal liberation" and has staged raids on slaughterhouses—often targets businesses that, like the Local Butcher Shop, tout humane animal slaughter practices. "Our message is that there is no humane way to exploit and kill someone who wants to live and be free," DxE's website reads. The group says that, as part of its deal with the store, members may still protest there twice a year, and an organizer adds to the Post that they wish the sign was more "front [and] center" at the store. But since the group's tactic worked at all, he says, they plan to try the same thing at other businesses. The shop's co-owner tells the Guardian the move amounts to "ethical extortion," but she notes to CBS San Francisco that all the attention has actually driven business up.