Four days after receiving a menacing anonymous note from animal rights activists, owners of Little Italy’s Restaurant Manitoba say they’re “on the lookout,” taking precautions and in the process of filing a police report.
On Sunday, the New Canadian restaurant’s owners found a hand-written note in their mailbox on Sunday accusing chef Simon Mathys of having “blood on his hands.”
“Thousands of geese and ducks will unjustly pay their lives for the simple pleasure of taste in this future slaughterhouse project,” the note says. The owners also found glue in the lock on the restaurant’s front door, preventing them from entering the venue, they reported in a Facebook post Monday.
Co-owner Elisabeth Cardin told Eater Montreal Thursday that her team is optimistic that whoever left the note will not target the restaurant again, underscoring that Manitoba has never expressed anti-vegan sentiment.
“We critique the manner, not the opinions,” of the activists behind the note, Cardin says. “Our position has always been on creating a space to engage in healthy discussion on the subject of food awareness, regardless of philosophy.”
The restaurant was closed for renovations at the time, but is currently preparing to re-open on Jan. 24, Cardin says.
Located on St-Zotique Street, Restaurant Manitoba opened in 2014 to serve cuisine inspired by Quebec’s Indigenous communities, using locally-grown ingredients and foraged and wild food — including seal, duck, and game birds.
The restaurant has partnered with Le Petit Abattoir, a small farm and micro-slaughterhouse, to source some of its meat as a way of surpassing the toll that large-scale agricultural production takes on the environment and wellbeing of the animals involved. Traditionally, animals being taken to slaughter are transported several hundred kilometres in cramped conditions, the project’s website argues; the micro-slaughterhouse is a solution to that, providing animals with pleasant living conditions and circumventing the carbon emissions caused by this process.
Manitoba’s owners defended their involvement in the project on Facebook, arguing that industrial agriculture is destroying the world, and small-scale slaughterhouses are the solution.
“We try to give small poultry producers the opportunity to take down their animals at their own pace [...] avoiding the terrible hours of transport and the practices found in most industrial slaughterhouses,” the post says. “We want to raise awareness of the concept of animal and vegetable death, the concept of sacrifice.”
“Yes, we have blood on our hands. That of animals that have had a happy life, surrounded by nature and basically good humans,” the post continues, ending with a call-to-action for animal rights activists to use their energy on ending mass agriculture, rather than targeting small businesses.
The attack comes a little over a week after animal rights activists stormed Joe Beef during a Saturday dinner service on Jan. 11. The protestors carried signs in French reading “animals are not food” and “we want animal liberation now,” before being escorted out by Joe Beef staff.