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
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)

(Newser) – 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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