Vegan Protesters Force California Butcher to Hang Animal Rights Sign

A California butcher shop has caved to the demands of a vegan, animal rights group to hang a sign on the storefront that says animals’ have the right to live.

The animal rights group, Direct Action Everywhere, held protests in front of the Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, Calif., for four months. The Washington Post reports that protesters would be “dripping with fake blood, tightly bound in plastic wrap as if they were cuts of meat. Singing, shouting, lecturing customers.”

The vegan protesters sent a list of demands to the butcher shop, including that the shop hang a sign in their window. The sign says “Attention: Animals lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done.”

Photo by Direct Action Everywhere


Direct Action Everywhere has touted the coup as a “victory” on the groups Facebook page where it shares a video of “A famous butcher shop in Berkeley is now warning its customers that meat is violence!”

The Local Butcher Shop began in 2011, buying whole animals to butcher from local farms and is owned by the husband and wife team of Aaron and Monica Rocchino.

“To be threatened and forced to abide by their beliefs just makes me sad,” Monica Rocchino told The Guardian. “Their tactics are really extremist … This is ethical extortion.”

Products sold by the butcher shop include: deli meats, sausage, stews, dog food and a sandwich of the day. Classes are held at the shop regularly to talk about various butchering techniques like sausage making or half hog butchery demos.

Despite The Local Butcher Shop meeting some of the demands of Direct Action Everywhere, the animal rights activists have started an online petition to stop butchers in Berkley from using the term “humane” to describe their meat.

The petition is asking for 200 signatures and as of 10 am CST on Aug. 3 there are 121 signatures. People have signed the petition from outside the Berkley area including locations in Russia, Denmark, Germany and Malaysia.

In the petition Direct Action Everywhere organizer and investigator Matt Johnson writes, “This groundbreaking victory is the first of DxE’s “Facing the Truth” initiative, which empowers us, as individuals and communities, to unveil the long-suppressed truth of animal exploitation and demand transparency and integrity in our food system. It paves the way for additional animal-friendly progress, including an end goal of a meat-free Berkeley by 2025.”

Direct Action Everywhere believes that farms and butcher shops cannot claim to be “humane” if it results in the death of an animal. The animal rights activists plan to deliver the petition to Jesse Arreguin, the mayor of Berkley.

Arreguin and the city of Berkley have been on the side of animal rights activists in the past few months and years. The city council of Berkley recently banned the sale of fur in April, becoming the second city in the nation to do so. A ban on declawing pets was put in place in 2009, as well.

Because of these animal rights victories, the city of Berkley was presented the Compassionate City Award by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation.

“Berkeley has a history of being at the forefront in fighting for the welfare of all animals,” Arreguín told The Daily Californian. “We welcome more ideas of legislation.”

A number of people have come to the defense of The Local Butcher Shop on social media.

“Great local business! Don't give in to the extortion tactics of insane people!,” Kathy Kayhour says on Facebook.

Also on Facebook, a commenter named John Smith says, “Sad to see that you are suffering from the animal nazis harassment. I'm also sad to see you fold to their demands, but I do understand. Maybe some heavy handed security would have been a better option. These kids need a spanking it seems.”