A group of vegan activists who stormed a Brighton steakhouse and played sounds of cows being slaughtered were shouted down by a stag party who sang back at them ‘stand up if you love meat’.
The group responded after demonstrators from Direct Action Everywhere entered Touro Steakhouse in Brighton and waved around signs and placards.
Most of the diners at the Brazilian-themed restaurant appeared unmoved by the protest and carried on talking and eating, even when the activists played the noise of a cow being killed and shouted ‘It’s not meat, it’s violence’ repeatedly.
Members of the stag party, including a £250 ‘Oompa Loompa impersonator’, started chanting back at them and even persuaded fellow diners to join in.
A group of vegan activists stormed a steakhouse in Brighton, pictured, and played the sounds of cows being slaughtered to the customers
After the group started shouting an anti-meat chant, a stag party stood up and sang back ‘Stand up if you love meat’ as members danced around, pictured left and right
Some customers appeared to be laughing, pictured, as the protest carried on around them
Protesters also waved placards with anti-meat messages, left and right, and remained at the restaurant for around 20 minutes
When the activists eventually left, diners shouted ‘You’re not singing anymore’, pictured
Two members of the stag do are seen in this video still taken during the incident on Saturday
Several videos have since emerged from the incident on Saturday night, with some filmed by the activists and others by bystanders.
A person filming one of the activists’ video – who is a vegan – can be heard saying: ‘This smells horrible, look at all the flesh.’
But as a spokeswoman attempts to give a speech about the benefits of veganism, patrons can be heard jeering and one mimics a cow mooing.
What is Direct Action Everywhere Brighton?
Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is a describes itself as a campaigning organisation that uses direct action to ‘bring animal rights onto the table’.
Facebook profiles belonging to members of the Brighton branch suggest many are young, in their 20s and 30s, while several appear to be students.
The group has boasted about its recent stunt on Facebook and hit back against criticism that their intervention was anti-social and unacceptable.
‘Human beings sat in a restaurants munching on chopped up bodies is what’s really extreme,’ the group said. ‘Legality does not equal morality and using animals in the way we do is not moral.’
Waiters are also seen arguing with the demonstrators and trying to get them to leave.
But their chanting only provoked a loud reaction from the stag party, who rose from their seats and started shouting back at them before beginning their song.
Dan Holmes, 30, who was part of the stag party, said the activists were shouting for about 10 minutes before his group lost patience and started singing back.
He said: ‘We felt they had said what they wanted to say and now it was time for them to go away and let people eat. 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. If they had just had signs then that’s one thing, but 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.’
One of the protesters read out a speech that said ‘no good person’ could eat an animal and not think of their suffering
The group posted about their demonstration on Facebook, pictured, and said they were highlighting the ‘mass killing of innocent animals’ in a ‘public and non violent way’
Staff were seen trying to carry on as normal, pictured left and right, as the protesters moved around the restaurant
One of the protesters held up a sign with a cow on it with the slogan ‘I want to live’
A spokeswoman for the group attempted to make a speech, left, but customers seemed unmoved and more interested in taking pictures and videos of the incident
Staff at the steakhouse, pictured, said police were called but did not attend
Behind the camera, a voice said: ‘They’re letting us protest but they’re eating the flesh of animals in front of us.’
The protestors remained in the popular steakhouse for 20 minutes before departing to stand outside.
As they left, disgruntled diners are again heard booing, whistling and chanting ‘you’re not singing anymore’ at the departing group.
Mr Holmes, who came down with friends from Ampthill in Bedfordshire on a package stag party weekend in Brighton, added the protest continued for an hour outside after they left.
He added: ‘It didn’t spoil anything for us, and in fact our Whatsapp group has been going mad ever since so it added to it if anything.
‘The most perfect bit was we just blindfolded the groom and handcuffed him to the Oompa Loompa so the timing was great!’
Mr Holmes added the manager of the restaurant even gave them free shots after the protesters left.
A spokeswoman for Direct Action Everywhere Brighton said: ‘In a time where 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, we are all animals.
‘We can no longer ignore the suffering and pain we cause. We are not the only sentient beings that inhabit this planet.’
Direct Action Everywhere Brighton also told the customers it was ‘paramount we put our egos aside’ and ‘accept we are all animals’
When the group left unimpressed customers, pictured, jeered them and chanted ‘you’re not singing anymore’
The demonstration continued outside the restaurant, pictured, and the manager said it was ‘annoying’ because it ‘disrupted everyone’
Sussex Police said it attended with community support officers but found the group ‘protesting peacefully’ outside, pictured left and right
Who were the activists who stormed steakhouse? How animal rights protest group with branches across UK was founded in San Francisco
Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is an animal rights protest group that was originally set up in San Francisco in 2013.
Its mission is to achieve ‘total animal liberation’ and the creation of a law requiring ‘species equality’.
Associated groups then spread throughout the US, protesting against conditions at farms used by Whole Foods and organising sit-ins at Chipotle restaurants against animal violence.
By December 2014 the organisation had spread across the globe, with groups established in 90 cities in 20 countries, and in the present day it has organised protests in 217 cities in 43 countries.
In the UK it has branches in Liverpool, Brighton, Bristol, Coventry, London, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Cambridge, north east England, Belfast and Scotland.
DxE pledge to take non-violent direct action but its disruptive demonstrations have been branded bullying.
Members in the US have previously been charged with burglary and theft after raiding farms and stealing livestock.
Madsu Sudan Galtam, manager at Touro, told the Brighton Argus: ‘They came in and started shouting about animals and holding some signs.
‘They didn’t do anything aggressive but it was a bit annoying because it disrupted everyone.
‘We did make a phone call to the police but they never arrived.’
Sussex Police said it sent to community support officers to the restaurant but found the demonstrators protesting outside and not committing any offences.
A spokesperson said: ‘We received a report of a protest by a group of 20 people at the Touro steakhouse in West Street, Brighton, on Saturday at 7.10pm. They were said to be animal rights activists.
‘Two police community support officers attended and found the group were protesting outside the restaurant.
‘They were not committing any offences and were allowed the right to peaceful protest.’
It is estimated that the number of vegans in the UK has quadrupled to 650,000 since 2011.
Now direct action groups are on the rise as animal liberation activists team up with vegan protestors.
Direct Action Everywhere have protested at a number of restaurants serving meat as well as supermarkets.
The grassroots group, which was founded in the US in 2013, now has several branches across Britain.
One of the activists posted on Facebook ‘we will not be silent so you can be comfortable’
The demonstrators were shouting ‘It’s not meat, it’s violence’ throughout the evening
But some customers made a laugh and a joke of the protest by dancing around on camera