BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — A group of East Bay animal activists claimed a victory after their peaceful protests highlighting animal cruelty in the food system brought change to a Berkeley butcher shop.
That business is so fed up with all the demonstrations, it has decided to throw the activists from the group Direct Action Everywhere a bone.
Along with the regular steaks and ground beef, you’ll also see this sign displayed at the Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley. It’s their ransom, so to speak, calling off the protesters that have been outside their store weekly for the last three months.
“There definitely wasn’t a win/win situation, but if this is what we needed to do to keep the peace in the neighborhood, then this is what well do,” said Local Butcher Shop co-owner Monica Rocchino
The activists from Direct Action Everywhere call it a victory.
The sign reads, “Attention: Animals lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust no matter how it’s done.”
“When we consume what’s called meat, this is the body of a living feeling individual who wanted to live- so this is not a personal choice,” said Direct Action Everywhere’s Matt Johnson.
The group came up with the sign as a compromise. Much like a cigarette warning label, the sign is a way to raise awareness on their way to creating a meat-free Berkeley by 2025.
Some locals told KPIX 5 they were skeptical of that goal.
“Never gonna happen,” said Local Butcher Shop customer Take Sotaugie Kuo
It may be lofty goal by carnivores’ standards, but it is one the group is fighting for anyway.
Even the fact that Rocchino’s shop only carries local, hormone free, free-pasture raised animals from farms that slaughter humanely was a problem.
The group told Rocchino they’d continue to protest indefinitely if the sign didn’t go up. In the face of their disruptive demonstrations, she said she felt she had no choice.
“It’s all black or white. And it’s really sad — and frustrating — because they are just furthering intolerance,” said Rocchino.
But it hasn’t made for bad business. Meat eaters are a hardy lot and, if anything, Rocchino says her numbers are up for all the attention.
While that is likely not the outcome Direct Action Everywhere was looking for, their battle seems to be won elsewhere:
“We are all feeling great,” said Johnson. “This is progress and the first time something like this has ever been done.”