They Protested His Eatery's Meat. So He Grabbed a Deer Leg

'I just felt helpless' at being called 'murderer,' says Toronto restaurateur Michael Hunter
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2018 10:15 AM CDT
Restaurateur Carves Meat in Front of Vegan Protesters
In this July 18, 2017, photo, grilled deer steaks, meat sticks, and Landjaeger from deer meat are displayed in Lynden, Wash.   (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times via AP)

What do you do if you're a restaurant that serves meat, yet protesters keep showing up to tell you you're a "murderer"? If you're Michael Hunter, you chop up a deer in the front window. That's what the Toronto restaurateur did Friday after animal-rights demonstrators kept showing up outside his game-themed Antler Kitchen & Bar, which the Globe and Mail says serves "every part of the animal" (and those animals include boar, rabbit, deer, and bison, per the restaurant's website). His menu selections have spurred a slew of recent protests, and one last Friday ended up with the cops arriving to "keep the peace," a police rep tells the Toronto Star. Hunter's window-butchering came after he first ignored the protesters at past demonstrations, then tried to promote his eatery's vegan offerings on a sandwich board to appease them.

"I just felt helpless. … I hoped it would fizzle out and go away," he tells the Globe, noting walk-in traffic fell during the protests. But his efforts weren't enough for Marni Ugar, who has run the protests. "The goal always is for a restaurant to go fully vegan," she says. "To reduce the animals they kill … isn't good enough." That no-compromises stance pushed Hunter over the edge. "They're offending us; I'm going to offend them," he recalls thinking Friday. "So I went and got a deer leg." Ugar tells CTV, "We were in shock" upon seeing the stunt. Hunter now says he regrets it, and he and Ugar are conversing on a resolution, with Hunter offering to do a vegan tasting menu and host a foraging trip for her group. Ugar says she's considering it, saying, "I'd always rather have dialogue. … I'm not targeting him. I'm there to defend animals." (These vegan restaurateurs started eating meat and enraged fans.)

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