Vegan activists stormed a steakhouse and played the screams of cows being slaughtered to diners.
More than 20 protesters from animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere held up placards with slogans such as ‘Are you a baby eater?’ and ‘It’s not food, it’s violence’.
They also chanted messages to highlight the plight of animals.
While many sat bemused, six left the restaurant because of the protest – but some argued with activists or chanted back. A group on a stag party sang ‘Stand up if you love meat’, with some other customers joining in.
The protest continued outside Touro steakhouse in Brighton. Madsu Sudan Galtam, the restaurant’s boss, said: ‘They came in without permission and stayed for half an hour. We called for the police but they didn’t arrive.
‘We requested them to leave. I was scared as to how to send them out – I wanted them to go.
‘They told customers not to eat meat but they were saying back, “we like meat”. They like their steak, it’s a steakhouse. I would say about six people left because of the protest, so it would have cost us between £180 (R3200) and £200 (R3500).
‘They have a right to protest but they should have got permission. They didn’t and that’s wrong. There is a public area outside and they could have gone there.’
The incident was recorded for posterity by the activists, who posted their footage online. The video begins with protesters quietly walking into the restaurant. The person filming says: ‘This smells horrible – look at all the flesh.’
As one activist attempts to give a speech about animal rights, diners jeer and one makes a mooing noise. Waiters are also seen arguing with the demonstrators and trying to get them to leave.
The person filming says: ‘They’re letting us protest but they’re eating the flesh of animals in front of us.’ As the activists leave, disgruntled diners boo, whistle and chant: ‘You’re not singing any more.’ Stag party member Dan Holmes, 30, said: ‘We came up with some fun chants and the whole restaurant stood up when we sang “Stand up if you love meat”.
‘A protest is fine, but they overstayed their welcome and were becoming annoying. Playing sounds of animals being killed was going over the top.
‘One of them was going round this table filming people eating and getting in their faces.’ A spokesman for the Brighton branch of Direct Action Everywhere denied the protest was extreme. He said: ‘Human beings sat in a restaurant munching on chopped-up bodies is what’s really extreme. Legality does not equal morality and using animals in the way we do is not moral.
‘Through these actions, we aim to get the conversation at the forefront of people’s minds and get people questioning everyday norms.’ However, some local vegans criticised the demo, with Morgan Valencia insisting: ‘It would make me embarrassed. There are better ways to educate than this.’
Dominika Piasecka, of the Vegan Society, said: ‘A poor choice of tactics may result in the public becoming defensive, rather than listening to the vegan message.’
Direct Action Everywhere, founded in the US in 2013, has several UK branches. Its mission is to achieve ‘total animal liberation’.
Veganism has soared in popularity in recent years with up to 3,5million Britons now following the diet and lifestyle.
© Daily Mail