Warning: Disturbing image

PETA has caused outrage in Australia after barbecuing a fake dog at a protest in Sydney this morning, to stop people from eating meat this Australia Day.

The activists set up the barbecue on Pit Street Mall, in Sydney, and appeared to cook a heavily charred "dog".

A slogan on the barbecue read: "If you wouldn't eat a dog, why eat a lamb? Go vegan".

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A spokesperson for PETA told Yahoo7 News that the protest was meant to be confronting.

"When it comes to the capacity to suffer and feel pain and fear, a dog is no different from a lamb, a pig, a chicken, or a cow," PETA spokeswoman Emily Rice said.

"PETA is urging anyone who's repulsed by the prospect of chowing down on dog meat to extend that compassion to all other animals and go vegan."

The comparison did not go down well with those who saw it, and children were reportedly "visibly upset" by the sigh of the charred fake dog.