Flemish minister walks away from anti-foie gras protest at Michelin-starred restaurant
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    Flemish minister walks away from anti-foie gras protest at Michelin-starred restaurant

    Flemish minister for mobility was among several diners caught off-guard by an anti-foie gras protest at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Credit: Animal Resistance/Facebook

    Flemish Minister for Mobility Lydia Peeters was one of several diners whose meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant was disturbed after animal rights activists staged an anti-foie gras protest inside.

    “It’s not food — it’s violence; ducks feel pain — just like us,” were some of the slogans the activists repeatedly chanted in English, in a protest which was live-streamed on their Facebook page.

    Around 50 activists with the Animal Resistance group stormed Vivendum, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Limburg, on Thursday evening, standing among diners as they displayed images of caged ducks and geese on their mobile phones.

    In the video, Peeters can be seen coming back from a separate room to recover a wine glass from her table before walking away from the protesters.

    “Come let’s just go into the next room and enjoy our wine until this chaos is over,” Peeters can be heard saying to another person as activists start chanting “another world is possible.”

    Members of the Animal Resistance group did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the latest of several demonstrations organised in less than a week, presumably targetting the entire foie-gras production chain.

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    In the space of a weekend, the activists stormed a farm producing foie-gras, breaking into a barn and chaining themselves to the cages where ducks and geese were locked in. The following day, the group acted out the force-feeding process used in manufacturing foie gras in front clients at a supermarket.

    Both protests were live-streamed on Facebook, with the latter one resulting in the arrest of 14 members of the group and the former prompting the owner of the farm to call out the group for causing the death of over a hundred ducks.

    Contacted by phone, an employee for Vivendum said he had been present during the protest but declined to comment, with the restaurant’s chef, Alex Clevers, telling De Standaard that Peeters’ presence during the demonstration was a result of a chance encounter.

    The videos show the protest lasted several minutes, during which time the activists repeated their slogans among diners and brandished banners and images of caged ducks on their phones.

    Restaurant staffed called local police, with a spokesperson telling De Staandard that after talking with the activists, they left the establishment without resisting.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times