Vegan activists stormed a steakhouse and disrupted diners’ meals by playing recordings of animals being killed in an effort to convince people to stop eating meat.
Around 20 demonstrators chanted: “It’s not food, it’s violence,” and held placards showing farm animal slaughter to highlight what they called the “unsustainable and unethical exploitation and suffering” in the meat industry.
The protesters, from a network called Direct Action Everywhere, initially entered the Touro Steakhouse in Brighton quietly while customers ate steaks.
One activist gave a speech urging customers to question their food choices, saying: “No good person could look into the eyes of an animal and think that a meal was more important than their suffering.”
Most of the customers at the Brazilian-themed restaurant tried to ignore the protest, continuing to talk and eat.
But one started jeering the speech, and another mimicked a cow mooing.
The protest went on for up 20 minutes as the cow slaughter recordings were played to force diners to “listen to the screams”. Some of the activists chanted: “There’s no excuse for animal abuse.”
Waiters argued with the demonstrators and urged them to leave, as diners started booing and shouting.
Madsu Sudan Galtam, the restaurant manager, said: “They didn’t do anything aggressive but it was a bit annoying because it disrupted everyone.” The police were called but did not come, he added.
As the demonstrators left the steakhouse to protest outside, the meat-eaters were heard whistling and chanting back: “You’re not singing any more.”
A spokeswoman for Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) Brighton said: “In a time when we are experiencing mass environmental destruction, largely due to our unsustainable and unethical food choices, it is paramount that we put our egos and selfishness aside and accept that we are all connected.
“DxE actions are about disrupting normalised activities that depend on animal exploitation and suffering in a very public and non-violent way.
“Human beings in restaurants munching on chopped up bodies is what’s really extreme. Legality does not equal morality."
The group said the protest was not targeting individuals in the steakhouse but was to promote the message in the wider media.
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