Vegans were pelted with chicken legs during a protest outside one of Stoke-on-Trent’s best-known butchers.
Activists set up a huge 10 metre ‘friends not food’ banner in front of Wayne Walker Quality Meats in Longport as they called for an end to the exploitation of animals.
While many passing motorists beeped their support, others goaded the protesters by throwing their KFC at them while their mates filmed.
Police were called to the site in Davenport Road but the protest passed off peacefully.
Electrician Bradley Shaw, who has been a vegan for two years, was among those taking part.
The 22-year-old, from Longton, said: “We could have done it outside any butchers in Stoke-on-Trent but Wayne Walker’s is one of the better known ones.
“A couple of the staff members did come out to us to ask what we were doing. They were giving us a bit of stick at first and told us to clear off. When they realised we weren’t going anywhere, they basically left us alone. We ended up having a civil conversation.
“At one point a car went around the roundabout and we were hit by a chicken leg. There’s a KFC just up the road so I think they had seen us and gone there and decided to taunt us.
“We could see their mates filming in the car and hear them shouting and laughing. They just think it’s a bit of fun to have a go at a vegan.
“But we also had a lot of positive support. There were traffic lights so when cars stopped we handed over leaflets to explain what we were doing.
“The point of the protest was to pose the question about why people think it’s OK to eat pigs when they have been proven to be as intelligent as dogs. A lot of people were interested in what we had to say.
“Overall we had a good response although we did get abused more than we normally would when we’re in Hanley.”
Members of Stoke-on-Trent animal rights activists (STAR) are now planning future events.
Bradley added: “We’re planning on doing something similar again although we’re yet to set a locations and date. It could be that we target McDonald’s or somewhere like that.
“I work with 300 people so I’m used to getting ridiculed for my beliefs. It’s definitely a controversial topic and provokes a strong reaction in people. A lot of people just say ‘have you got nothing better to do?’.
“We also get told we are affecting people’s livelihoods but we’re here to stand up for the animals and we’re not going anywhere.
“If anyone treated a dog how we as a society treat pigs, they would be arrested. We get trolled a lot online but we’re just used to that.”
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Michael Patrick, shop manager at Wayne Walker’s, spoke with the activists during last Saturday’s protest.
He said: “We don’t have a problem with what they stand for but I don’t think they should be pushing their agenda on to other people.
“Their biggest problem seemed to be that we sell meat at low prices but we don’t actually slaughter any animals.
“Thankfully the protest didn’t put off any of our customers. In fact, it was more like free publicity.
“The police did come but the protesters weren’t doing anything illegal.”