A steakhouse in Brighton, United Kingdom, a Brazilian steakhouse at that, had an evening not good for business at all when a vegan activist group randomly took the restaurant by storm and turned it into the site of a protest.
It was a busy Saturday night at the popular eating attraction in Brighton, the Touro Steakhouse, when a group from “Direct Action Everywhere,” an organization actually founded in America, hit the scene with speakers and plaques.
Unfortunately the scene constituted the definition of a protest that was set up to fail, because reaching people is never possible when they are disrespected like this.
After storming into the restaurant and trying to get the attention of everyone, one member of the group tried to make a speech in the building, but she was mostly talked over, people weren’t having it.
Then, the group decided to loudly play the sound of animals allegedly suffering in slaughterhouses through some sizeable speakers they brought. They proceeded to chant “it’s not food it’s violence” and “there’s no excuse for animal abuse.”
Naturally most of the people eating in the diner were not affected by their attempts to get attention. That’s because they approached the people with disrespect.
A combative attitude is guaranteed to be zero percent persuasive when it comes to activism. It’s true that some activism is only meant to be combative, not cooperative at all, but that would constitute some type of action like physically blocking access to a slaughterhouse, or something hands-on.
Some people watching the protest were amused and a lot of people laughed at them. Some filmed the group and some continued eating.
Police were called to the restaurant, and something known in the UK as community support officers attended, but after about 20 minutes the protest group left the restaurant and continued the protest outside of it.
It was kind of a bitter, jeering scene, not any kind of effective communication going on really at all. As the protest group left the diner, people eating started cheering their departure, chanting themselves “you’re not singing any more.”
It’s really sad actually that they probably convinced some people to be even more staunchly resistant to hearing about animals being treated badly. Personally I think it’s a shame what some animals have to go through, but I believe it’s natural to eat meat from animals that were hopefully treated well. People can both have respect for vegans and still eat meat, or even try to eat meat they believe was raised by animals treated well. The two are not mutually exclusive.
With that being said, honestly this type of “protest” can’t be considered much but adolescent. It would be great to show people if the animals they are eating are subject to suffering and harm, but they had better come with the evidence and come with respect or their effort is going to fall upon deaf ears.
Most activists learn real quick that nobody cares about anything, except for what affects them. Treat people with respect and involve what you think will affect them in your persuasive presentation of information to them, if you want to spread some info that you believe is important to people.