A Toronto restaurant owner has delivered a "brutal" and "disturbing" response to a group of vegan protesters who opposed the shop's contentious meat menu.

The restaurant called Antler is known for serving meat native to Canada, including bison, boar, rabbit, duck and deer, as well as serving foie gras, which has long been condemned as especially cruel in terms of animal welfare.

But when the animal rights activists starting protesting outside the store for the fourth time in as many days, they were met with hostility.

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"At the beginning a staff member came out in a huff, pouring a bucket of water on my chalk message," protest organiser Marni Jill Ugar wrote in a Facebook post.

Animal activists were outraged at a chef's response to their protest against the restaurant's meat on the menu. Photo / Facebook / Marni Jill Ugar
Animal activists were outraged at a chef's response to their protest against the restaurant's meat on the menu. Photo / Facebook / Marni Jill Ugar

But it was the actions of co-owner and chef Michael Hunter that saw the activists seeing red.

According to Ugar, chef Hunter taunted protesters by bringing a large deer leg to the window before cutting up it in front of them.

Chef Hunter could be seen slicing the large cut of meat in plain view of protesters outside. Photo /Facebook/Marni Jill Ugar
Chef Hunter could be seen slicing the large cut of meat in plain view of protesters outside. Photo /Facebook/Marni Jill Ugar

After cooking the deer leg he then allegedly sat down in front of the restaurant window in sight of the vegan protesters and began to taunt them before eating the meat.

"We stood peacefully on public property with our signs; less than an hour into our protest Michael Hunter, owner of Antler, brought out the leg of a deer and began to carve it in front of us," Ugar said.

"Once the deer was cooked, Michael Hunter sat back down at the window to eat the dead deer.

"Look in the window. Look at Michael Hunter. That deer was treated like a joke. That deer was an innocent animal who did not want to die."

Hunter outraged the activists when he tucked into a large cut of meat in clear view. Photo / Facebook /Marni Jill Ugar
Hunter outraged the activists when he tucked into a large cut of meat in clear view. Photo / Facebook /Marni Jill Ugar

Police then entered the restaurant and talked to Hunter before the chef packed up his tools and meat and walked back into the kitchen.

"I'm not sure if the police were telling the owner to stop trying to anger the protestors, or for ethical or health and safety violations," said animal activist Len Goldberg.

"I just think this is very disturbing."

When asked about the protest, Antler said that "our identity as a restaurant is well known throughout the city as is our ethical farming and foraging initiatives.

"While we would much rather not be the focus of these protests, we are not at all surprised," said Hunter.

"We simply want to carry on running a restaurant and have a peaceful environment where our guests can enjoy their food."