Warning: Distressing Content
The animal activist group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), sparked outrage on social media after some of its members staged a fake dog barbecue outside a shopping center in Sydney, Australia, leaving children "visibly upset," according to reports. The setup, which included a chef grilling a realistic looking dog prop whole, left several shoppers and their children traumatized.
PETA activists set up the inciting stunt with a banner that read: "If You Wouldn’t Eat a Dog, Why Eat a Lamb? Go Vegan!” Reports stated the group was aiming to raise awareness of the notion dogs are "no different to lamb, cows and chicken." However, their set up to execute the idea backfired as outraged onlookers took to social media to express their disgust, according to the Sun.
A user on Twitter wrote: "@peta [stooping] to new lows with their stunt in Martin Place today - terrifying children on school holiday outings by barbecuing a (very lifelike) dog. I saw some visibly upset kids. Disgraceful #stunt #PETA". While another user tweeted: "That supposed protest in Sydney is more inhumane than any slaughtering of animals. Keep them out of public places. It should be classed as public nuisance! Kids around? That is further reason to stop this! Exposing them to this??? Cruel."
@peta stopping to new lows with their stunt in Martin Place today - terrifying children on school holiday outings by barbecuing a (very lifelike) dog. I saw some visibly upset kids #Disgraceful #stunt #PETA pic.twitter.com/iaRpDXrCDc— Cøckrøach (@cockroachBLUE) January 23, 2019
An outraged bystander tweeted: "If you care for children, try not damaging them for the rest of their life. Your display was disgusting. The Government should introduce VLAD laws on the Extreme Vegan Protesters!! No more disturbing scenes and no heavy handed tactics on Meat focused restaurants."
PETA spokesperson, Emily Rice, while talking to News.com.au said the demonstration was “thought-provoking”.
"It’s not gruesome but it’s no different to when you’d walk past a Peking duck hanging in a shop window or a pig on a spit at a wedding," she said, adding the organization was used to receiving mixed reactions. "It’s always mixed, it can be confronting to challenge what people think of as normal and it will be an emotionally charged day but if we manage to plant some seeds and start a conversation about speciesism then that’s a good thing. We want people to think about why they’re happy to love one animal but eat another," the spokesperson said.