Diners moo vegan protesters out of steakhouse

Group plans more protests

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(CNN) - As plant-based diets boom in popularity, one group of vegan activists took a direct approach to convincing more people to stop eating meat, escalating their tactics in what they say will be regular protests.

Some 20 protesters stormed Touro steakhouse on Saturday in the English seaside resort of Brighton, with one saying, "This smells horrible, look at all the flesh," a Facebook Live video of the episode shows.

Then, as one protester makes a speech, diners shout her down, with some making mooing sounds to drown out her voice.

"It's not meat, it's violence," shout the demonstrators.

Protesters then play recordings of screaming animals but the tenor of the room changed when some patrons started to shout and chant, the video shows.

"You're not singing anymore," a popular chant at soccer matches around the United Kingdom, rings out around the restaurant as the demonstrators move their protest outdoors.

Touro waitress Jessica Amaral told CNN that the protesters were "really annoying" for about 20 minutes.

Demonstrators often stand outside holding photos of animals, she said, but this was the first time that they'd entered the premises.

"People started making fun of it, passing by eating meat in front of them," the waitress said.

The protesters were members of the Brighton chapter of Direct Action Everywhere, a grassroots network of animal rights activists. It started in the San Francisco Bay Area and now has chapters in more than 160 cities in 30 countries, according to the organization's website.

"DxE actions are about disrupting normalized activities that depend on animal exploitation and suffering in a very public and non-violent way," reads a post from the Brighton chapter's Facebook page.

"Through these actions we aim to get the conversation at the forefront of people's minds and get people questioning everyday norms."

The Brighton group said in a statement that every chapter of Direct Action Everywhere has monthly events planned and its next action will be in December.

Research by UK supermarket chain Waitrose reportedly revealed that a third of British people now have meat-free or meat-reduced diets, with 13% identifying as vegetarian or vegan and another 21% identifying as flexitarian, which involves occasional meat consumption.

However, there is currently no research on whether disrupting meat eaters' meals is an effective way to encourage them take up a plant-based diet.

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