- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A game-themed restaurant in Toronto has seen an uptick in business after the co-owner and head chef butchered a deer leg in front of a group of animal-rights activists who have been protesting his restaurant since December.

Michael Hunter, owner of the Antler Kitchen & Bar, said he was fed up after a group of activists, led by Marni Ugar, started making his patrons uncomfortable and driving away business after months of protesting outside his restaurant.

“I’ve left every time they came because it’s so upsetting,” Mr. Hunter told The Globe and Mail. “I just felt helpless. It’s hurting our business. I hoped it would fizzle out and go away.”

On Friday, activists shouted “murderer” every time the front door opened. That’s when Mr. Hunter decided to hold a protest of his own.

“This is who we are and what we do,” he said. “They’re offending us; I’m going to offend them. So I went and got a deer leg.”

Mr. Hunter said he cut up the leg on a table at the front of his restaurant while protesters watched.

“When I was finished, I cleaned the area down and I went back to the kitchen. At the time, I felt like I had stood up for myself,” he said. “After, I didn’t feel good about it. I felt like they got to me and I played into them.”

Regardless of how he felt about the stunt, reservation requests at Antler have been up since a video of it was posted online, The Globe and Mail reported.

According to The Globe and Mail, Antler’s menu reflects Mr. Hunter’s opposition to factory farming, and his belief in using every part of the animal.

But Ms. Ugar said she wishes to dispel the myth that free-range farming is more ethical.

“People feel like they’re doing the right thing by going there. That they’re eating ethical meat,” Ms. Ugar said.

She said she offered to call off the protest if Mr. Hunter placed a sign in the window reading, “Attention, animals’ lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust no matter how it’s done.”

Mr. Hunter declined, but offered to introduce a vegan tasting menu and an invitation for Ms. Ugar’s group to join him on a foraging trip, The Globe and Mail.

Ms. Ugar said she’s considering the compromise.

“I’d always rather have dialogue,” she said. “I want to sit down. I’m not targeting him. I’m there to defend animals.”

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