Animal rights activists were in for a shock after the co-owner of the restaurant they were picketing brutally displayed his own counter-protest. Antler Bar & Kitchen, located in Toronto, is known for selling “local seasonal and wild foods,” including Canadian deer, rabbit, fish, duck, chicken, boar, and bison. According to The Globe and Mail, demonstrators had been disturbing customers by chanting “you’re a murderer” and “you’ve got blood on your hands” outside for several months, so chef Michael Hunter grabbed the hindquarter of a deer and butchered it in the front window.
“This is who we are and what we do,” Hunter told the outlet. “They’re offending us; I’m going to offend them. So I went and got a deer leg.”
According to blogTO, an onlooker livestreamed the event on social media for 20 minutes, but the video has since been removed. At one point, law enforcement showed up to the scene. It’s reported that multiple smiling police officers entered the restaurant and briefly spoke with Hunter, then left.
Protest organizer Marni Jill Ugar wrote on Facebook that once the deer was cooked, Hunter sat back down at the window and ate it. People outside were surprised by the act, but many others applaud the demonstration and are saying they can’t wait to visit the restaurant.
“I found out about Antler because of this report, and now I want to go. Not a fan of foie gras, though (ethically or culinarily),” @emarshall2827 wrote on Twitter. Ducks and geese raised specifically for this dish are subjected to intensive force-feeding in order to enlarge the liver before slaughter, which many find morally objectionable; foie gras production is banned in much of Europe outside of France.
“What restaurant is this? If I ever eat in T.O. it will be there,” @JP92720524 declared.
“Legend,” @JakeBalding said.
“Not all heroes wear capes. Love this Chef,” @HeavyE79 wrote.
Those with plant-based diets also gave their input.
“As a vegan, I personally think people can eat whatever the hell they want. Why force your dietary differences on someone else,” @fadeddowntoblack asked.
“They just made Antler the most famous restaurant in Toronto. I eat vegan but I’m switching back to meat after seeing this video. I can’t be associated with these nut jobs,” @gorillabrigade wrote, to which @melaniebowen replied, “Please don’t. If you dislike vegans, fine, but please don’t take it out on the animals. They’ve done nothing wrong and are completely innocent.”
The Daily Meal has reached out to Antler for comment. While this may seem like a heated debate, Canadians are typically known for being polite. People on both sides of the debate should take some etiquette lessons from their native land.