Animal-rights activists 1, butcher shop 0.
The activists sealed their victory after months of protests in front of a butcher shop in — where else? — Berkeley, California, by simply wearing down the shop owners.
Every Sunday since April they gathered outside The Local Butcher Shop and pulled out all the stops. Signs, loud chanting — and even nearly naked folk covered in fake blood and lying, meat-like, under plastic wrap for hungry customers to gaze upon, Berkeleyside reported.
Finally, the shop owners agreed "under duress," Berkeleyside said, with Direct Action Everywhere — a radical animal-rights outfit — to a deal if they promised to stop protesting.
The terms: There will be only two more protests at The Local Butcher Shop if the owners agree to hang a sign in the window for the next year. It reads: “Attention: Animals’ lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done."
And that's exactly what the butcher shop did.
Berkeley’s Local Butcher Shop hangs animal-rights sign to stop weekly protests https://t.co/jBeojMaUAw— Berkeleyside (@Berkeleyside)1501686063.0
Monica Rocchino, who owns The Local Butcher Shop with her husband Aaron, told Berkeleyside the deal amounts to extortion.
“The most palatable option to us was to put that sign up,” she told the outlet. “The protests impacted the neighbors and local businesses more than it impacted us … so it felt like the most respectful thing to do.”
Rocchino told Berkeleyside that the demonstrations were anxiety-inducing and embarrassing for the butcher shop staff.
Berkeley butcher shop hangs animal rights sign to stop vegan protesters https://t.co/9J0ZTBY2eS https://t.co/NMXKzIYDJa— The Press Democrat (@The Press Democrat)1501787707.0
And it's not as if the shop is some hole-in-the-wall without a heart, as the outlet said it emphasizes locally sourced and sustainably raised meat, and champions the use and consumption of the whole animal.
“What we do here is very nuanced and the Berkeley community understands that,” Rocchino told the outlet.
But their humane practices are a big reason why protesters targeted The Local Butcher Shop, Direct Action organizer Matt Johnson told Berkeleyside.
“People have this notion that there is a right way to hurt animals," Johnson told the outlet. "We wouldn’t look for the right type of violence to kill a puppy."
More from Berkeleyside:
The couple first met with the activists in May to try to come up with a situation that would work for both parties. At first, said Rocchino, Direct Action Everywhere members said they would not stop protesting until Berkeley was meat-free and The Local Butcher Shop was out of business, but they all agreed to consider a compromise. The activists came back a couple weeks ago with other options, including putting the sign up in the window. The owners were able to negotiate the size and placement and the 15″ by 15″ sign now hangs in a corner, fairly easy to miss.
A professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Law School said the protesters were acting within the law.
“Is it extortion? Morally, of course, if you think this is pressure that shouldn’t be brought to bear,” Christopher Kutz told the outlet, adding that the deal struck is "not enforceable as criminal extortion," which also involves a demand of money or property.
(H/T: Truth Revolt)