Letter: An inconsiderate protest

Graphic by Lori Deaton

My girlfriend and I were enjoying some time together at a nice restaurant in Biltmore Village when we (and everyone else) heard yelling in another room. I assumed it was someone making a toast who had had a little too much wine, but it turned out to be animal rights protesters. I became incredulous and frankly pissed amid repeated shouts of “Animals are not food!” It was obnoxious and inconsiderate.

I’ve lived here a long time and I have opinions, too, but I don’t go beating people over the head with them. It just seems there’s a better, more respectful way to get one’s thoughts across than harassing patrons when they’re trying to enjoy a rare night out. It’s quite possible some of them weren’t even eating meat! But do they really think the old guy over there with the trout’s gonna go, “Hey — wait a minute, they’re right —what am I doing?!?”

What if I went to a theater when these people were there and kept yelling, “Actors make too much money” over and over during the movie? Do we now need security guards at fine dining establishments? I swear to God, the left wing is getting just as intolerant as the right these days.

By the way, the paella was great.

— Chris Carter


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36 thoughts on “Letter: An inconsiderate protest

  1. Phillip Williams

    I understand the right of anyone to protest anything in public – meaning in a public square or on the courthouse steps or in a large public gathering like a parade or town meeting, but it seems a bit much that protesters would have the right to make their way into a restaurant full of paying guests and interrupt a meal.

    I am by no means a legal expert, but shouldn’t a restaurant or theatre owner or manager have the right to eject anyone who is 1) not paying to be there and 2) spoiling an experience for paying guests?

    Seems that someone would have been well within their rights to have these people escorted out – and arrested if they didn’t go peacefully. Would anyone thus ejected have a legitimate claim that their rights to speech and/or assembly were violated? I am not trying to be a smart-aleck or ask some kind of rhetorical question. I really don’t know.

  2. Richard B.

    Mr. (or Ms.) Carter, this is the new progressive era of FREE SPEECH, that is, so long as you are not a Republican or a moderate.
    In the progressive play book, only those who rant about Trump or anyone who fails to state their hatred of him, only those who claim the moral high ground of open borders, a gender-less culture, eating only tofu and other non animal sources of food, and so on into the depths of ridiculousness….have the right of FREE SPEECH.
    Not only that, they also, on account of their sense of righteousness and superiority, are entitled to disrupt, destroy property, spew hateful and vulgar insults, and infringe upon the rights of those who they deem to be morally inferior.

    I find it ironic that the main stream media and other distraught liberals claim that the President has inspired racism, sexism, and all kinds of other repugnant behaviors. They believe that the Deplorables who voted for Trump are triggered by his tweets, management style, and behavior. They are absolutely right that he has given license to those who are inclined to engage in thuggery. The irony is that they have the wrong segment of our population. It is definitely NOT the Deplorables. It is the far left loonies, the campus rioters who destroy private and public property, who call law enforcement vile names, and who invade restaurants and public spaces to disrupt, insult, and terrorize.
    They believe that they have the right and prerogative to these behaviors BECAUSE of Trump’s behaviors.

    So yes, Trump is the villain, Trump is responsible for your dinner being ruined by otherwise fine, morally superior, good intentioned folks.
    Problem is, I am sure that the Nazi Brown Shirts of the 1930’s had the same sense of moral superiority as the animal rights folks have.

  3. luther blissett

    And nobody apart from your fellow diners would have known about it had you not written your letter. So they surely appreciate the publicity you’ve given them, which is the point of such actions.

    • Peter Robbins

      I’m wondering if the shouting wasn’t just part of a blind date that went horribly, horribly wrong.

  4. Liz Burns

    Interesting how people never bring up why these courageous activists speak out in the first place. That’s called ‘shooting the messenger’. To dismiss the messenger is to dismiss the message. There are several different ways to advocate for animals and yes, this is one of the more direct/ in your face ways. But it gets people talking. Good or bad, it gets people thinking. That has to be the first step.
    Nobody wants to consider the real victims here- the animals. Sadly, 70+ billion animals are confined, enslaved, mutilated, exploited and violently slaughtered every year, yet they are not even considered victims. They are not even considered at all. Yet most people are against hurting an innocent animal. It makes no sense. People have to become aware. To make informed decisions, you need to be informed. Change does not happen when people are comfortable.
    Many people have never been confronted with this moral inner conflict. Hence why people become so angry at animal activists. It’s not just restaurants that people do not want to here about veganism, it’s all the time.

    The fact remains–
    Billions of animals are confined, enslaved, mutilated (w/o pain killers) ,abused and assembly line slaughtered every year so people can eat them or their bodily secretions .
    The total processes result in heavy pollution, world hunger, ocean dead zones, extinction, deforestation, disease. violence and oppression against sentient animals.

    The question remains –
    If we as humans can exist without taking another life/ without harming another, why would we choose to do so?

    ..to be silent is not an option.

    • SpareChange

      “But it gets people talking. Good or bad, it gets people thinking. That has to be the first step.”

      Nonsense. Strategically and tactically it is a disaster in that it does nothing but alienate the intended audience. It makes me think of those fire & brimstone street corner evangelists who would come to Bele Chere and scream at passersby that they were sinners and fornicators. I suspect they were about as successful as these self-anointed “vegangelists.”

      • Liz Burns

        SpareChange-It’s troubling when people get upset with vegans for pointing out the unnecessary suffering of farmed animals, rather than getting upset with the act of supporting/causing it.

        Do you believe your taste preferences are more important than another’s life?

        • SpareChange

          Liz Burns – you completely sidestep the issue I raised and in the process mischaracterize me and my position. I focused only on what I see as their counterproductive political tactics. You seem to automatically assume that by criticizing their tactics, that I am critical of their goals.

          They say that their purpose is to “force a conversation.” The very concept is flawed because it takes willing participants to converse. No matter how sincere the beliefs or sentiments behind a political action, if the tactics are flawed, they not only accomplish nothing, they end up being self-defeating.

          Grassroots political organizer Saul Alinsky argued that one needs to generate controversy in order to organize. However, he also went on at much greater length in his writings that one needs to be constantly self-critical about one’s tactics and aware of one’s target audience, and that if you act in ways that end up just alienating people, while it may bolster one’s own sense of smug self-righteousness, it will do nothing to advance one’s professed goals. Indeed, he goes on to suggest that those who fail to take critical stock of their tactics are likely putting their own need to feel like a rebel and a gadfly ahead of what they supposedly advocate. The actions taken by the local chapter of DxE and certain other militant vegans, are, in my opinion, an exercise in political narcissism and ultimately a cop-out. They do a disservice to their cause.

          • Liz Burns

            I simply pointed out that those whose focus is on the vegans are the ultimate as you used the term -‘side steppers’. It’s a common way to ignore the issue. Happens all the time- no matter how polite one advocates.
            I support all those who take non violent action to bring awareness to the massive horrific systematic exploitation,abuse and slaughter of innocent animals .. and they cannot be compared to some mentally challenged man screaming at the Belle Chere festival.
            Going to a restaurant for a few minutes of disruption advocacy is not terrorism. There is no screaming or personal attacks. Nobody gets hurt. It’s hearing an’ inconvenient’ truth for a few minutes. Please keep in mind who are the real victims. It’s not Chris Carter. It’s the animals. The ones we choose to ignore.
            Veganism is now growing exponentially thanks to social media and animal activists /activists groups like DXE, Anonymous For The Voiceless, Farmed Animal Save..etc. etc. and all those who have the courage to speak up and spread awareness.

            (You mentioned that I misrepresented you..? I have not said anything directed to you or about you. .. But you are free to make yourself clear on where you stand when it comes to unnecessary exploitation and slaughterer of animals. Or you can ‘side step’ that issue . It’s a free country.
            Do you believe your ‘right’ to eat whatever/whoever) you like supersedes somebody’s right to live?. Do you feel your taste preferences is more important than another’s life?

        • Richard B.

          Ms. Burns, please. You have a Constitutional right to protest anything you wish in a respectful and civil manner, which means that you do not bring harm, including fear or intimidation, to others.
          Clearly those folks enjoying a relaxing, expensive dinner, have rights as well, and your “Courageous Activists” would be well advised to do their protesting in a public area, square, city hall, and many other venues that will not disrupt and disturb people who may actually agree with them.
          Why did they choose that restaurant? Why do they presume that all the diners are meat eaters? How many of them are Vegans or Vegetarians themselves? What other “protests” do they participate in? Are they paid? Can you personally vouch for their inner convictions that they are usurping others’ rights to “save animals from the slaughter house?
          SpareChange is right on that your… “But it gets people talking. Good or bad, it gets people thinking. That has to be the first step” …comment will only serve to alienate.
          And, Ms. Burns, when ANYONE tells me that this “HAS” to be anything, I think elitist, arrogance, snobbery, condescension.
          I actually agree with some of the points you state, just don’t force it or anything down my throat, especially Tofu.

    • B E Vickroy

      The talking points for vegetarianism are that it leads to a higher standard of human behavior/existence & more ethical/humane treatment of animals. [“70+ billion animals are confined, enslaved, mutilated, exploited and violently slaughtered (WORLD WIDE) every year”] 9 billion in the U.S.
      But judging by living conditions & civil liberties, the nations with the highest number of vegetarians rank low on civil liberties. HOW CAN THAT BE?
      I couldn’t find data for ranking the most humane treatment of animals [raising & slaughter], but think that those with a higher % of vegetarians often rank low in humane treatment of animals. Likewise could not find data ranking nation’s economy by % of vegetarians/meat-eaters.But vegetarian-dominant nations are seldom economic leaders.

      For example: –India with 38% vegetarians living conditions, civil liberties, & humane animal treatment ranks among the lowest. –U.S. with 3.4% vegetarians – living conditions, civil liberties & humane animal treatment ranks among the highest.

      BTW I raised my 4 children with a vegetarian diet -wrestling, track, & swim champs. Though they have each become carnivores, they treat animals humanely, and if I do say so, are very decent people, vegetarian talking points notwithstanding.

    • Lulz

      LOL until they do something uncivil. Whatever happened to mind your own business and live your own life? Ah, progressives, nee quasi communist don’t believe people are actually capable of making the right decisions.

  5. jason

    People are never going to stop eating animals…move on with your first world problems.

  6. Enlightened Enigma

    the leftwingers are WAY MORE intolerant of opposing opinion than conservatives…

    conservatives don’t do that kind of behavior … they are too smart and realize the rule of law.

    • Lulz

      Laws are becoming a joke. Especially when they are legislated from the bench. Or apply to one group and not the other. Welcome to banana republic land.

  7. Stan Hawkins

    Now folks, really – don’t we have bigger fish to fry. Oops, did I say fish? I meant fake news, Uh I’m sorry fake food. Dang it.

    Hee Hee

    • Richard B.

      Holy Cow, Stan…So what’s your beef? What a kettle of fish here. Just because Chris has a bone to pick doesn’t mean we have to go hog wild.
      Be gentle with other commentators, no need to go from the frying pan into the fire, have to eat crow, or end up with egg on our face.
      However, it can be fun to chew the fat with other Xpress readers before or after work in order to bring home the bacon.

  8. Bright

    P.S. Everyone seems to forget Biltmore is responsible for the behavior of persons on their property. Violence with weapons, or violence with words has the same effect. Biltmore is a greedy bunch of management, to say the least. They didn’t want to lose any money by alienating guests. Its all negative…Biltmore, and its interruptions.

    • Richard B.

      What? Biltmore? Biltmore Village? Which is where Mr. Carter was dining. He did not mention the property.
      But it certainly was not the Estate, which have done and continue to do an excellent job in managing their property
      which benefits all of Buncombe County.
      Not too…Bright.

  9. Liz Burns

    The choice to eat animal products affects so much more than just ourselves. It hurts not only billions of farmed animals, but also contributes to environmental devastation, climate change, global deforestation, ocean acidification, mass species extinction, water scarcity, world hunger, the brutal killing of millions of wildlife animals, and a host of diet-related diseases that destroy human health.
    -This is not ‘forcing’ a ‘belief’ on someone.. It’s just stating facts. If you are uncomfortable with facts and truth and your own cognitive dissonance, perhaps it’s time to look within and make a change. .
    Jason- mentioned –‘move on with your first world problems’…… Other way around. It’s out of a sense of entitlement that we constantly eat the resource-intensive flesh and bodily fluids of exploited animals . It’s the ‘first-world’s’ preference for consuming vast quantities of animal products that leads to massive amounts of grain being grown purely for livestock consumption, the waste of millions of tons of water each year, and for rainforest clearing to graze animals for food. If the grain harvested to feed livestock was fed to humans instead, we could eliminate world-hunger.

    —-Raising animals as ‘food’ uses 45% + of the earth’s total land.
    —–1-2 acres of land are cleared every second for animal farming, causing habitat loss,& species extinction.
    ——One third of the planet is decertified, with livestock as the leading driver.
    ——More than 260 million acres of US forrest have been cleared to create cropland for feeding farmed animals. (It is the number one threat to the extinction of US plant species)
    ——-80% of Amazon Rainforest destruction is caused by large scale cattle farming for “Grass-fed beef’.
    ——-U.S. farms currently take up 1.1 billion acres, with 700 million devoted to animal grazing. That doesn’t include all the land used to grow grain to feed animals.
    ——Based on a vegan diet that includes a range of vegetables, fruit, legumes and grains ( using veganic farming methods ), it would require 100 million to 200 million acres a year.

    –55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture.
    (You could shower for six months….or you could eat one hamburger.Because it takes 660 gallons of water to make just one burger. )

    1 pound of beef = 1,799 gallons of water .
    1 pound of soybeans = 216 gallons of water
    1 pound of corn = 108 gallons of water.
    —40% of people worldwide are affected by water scarcity

    —-60% of corn and 47% of soy beans grown goes to feed livestock. animals which are mostly grown using GMO seed.
    —It requires 16 pounds go grain to produce 1 pound of meat.

    —Animals raised for food , produce 89,000 pounds of waste per second. -Creating massive amounts of groundwater pollution.
    —-Animal waste has polluted over 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states.
    —Animal waste ‘laggons’ emit toxic airborne chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune, irritation and neurochemical problems in humans.
    —A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produce as much waste as a city of 411,000 people.

    —80% of antibiotics sold in the US are for livestock

    —Animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions. —-Livestock operations on land have created more than 500 nitrogen flooded deadzones around the world in our oceans.
    —-Changing to a hybrid car -will reduce CO2 emissions by 1 ton.
    —Changing to vegan diet- will reduce CO2 emissions by 1.5 ton

    METHANE-( is 20x more powerful at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere than CO2)
    —-Chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows raised for slaughter are collectively the largest producers of methane in the US.
    —-Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day.

    NITROUS OXIDE— (is 300x more powerful at trapping heat inside the earth’s atmosphere than CO2.
    —Meat, egg, dairy industries produce 65% of NO2 emissions.—-Livestock-based food production causes about one-fifth of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

    Making jokes and not so clever meat puns only shows how dissociated one is. There is absolutely nothing funny about what animals go through to become food. Unless of course you are a sociopath. But most people have the compassion and empathy it takes . It’s about being honest with yourself and having an open mind and heart.
    You may refuse to look or listen, but if you eat meat and dairy, you are responsible for the suffering and death of animals. Ignorance may be bliss , but not for the victims of that ignorance.

    The amount of animals confined, mutilated, exploited and systematically slaughtered through animal agriculture because of non-veganism, using conservative numbers:
    60,000 per second
    3,600,000 per minute
    216,000,000 per hour
    5,000,000,000 per day
    36,000,000,000 per week
    1,900,000,000,000 per year

    Vegan for every single one of them.

    • Peter Robbins

      Sad that the our restaurant diner missed these thoughtful points. Next time, shout louder.

      • Liz Burns

        Disruption advocacy is just a minute percent of all animal advocacy. Perhaps stop focusing on those who spend a few minutes at a restaurant and think of the core message..— If we as humans can exist without taking another life/ without harming another, why would we choose to do so?

        • Peter Robbins

          Bank robbery is only a minute part of income redistribution. Perhaps stop focusing on those who spend a few minutes pointing guns at tellers?

        • Peter Robbins

          Or to put it another way, I only need your car for a few minutes to perform an important errand that will benefit many people enormously. You don’t mind if I take it without permission, do you? I’ll bring it back when I’m done. All I’ve really taken is a little of your time.

          • Liz Burns

            Peter Robbins–So you are comparing those who present an uncomfortable truths for a few minutes to being robbed at a bank with guns?.. or having your car stolen and then returned..? seriously? Are the animals not even worth a few minutes of consideration? Is the inconvenience of a few minutes of hearing the truth, worst than an animal being enslaved, mutilated, exploited, ..their lives stolen.. their bodies stolen and then violently slaughtered? Did anyone get hurt at this disruption? Was anyone scared for life? PTSD? Do you know who gets PTSD? Those whose work at a slaughterhouse. Did anyone get angry ? Yes. Would they’ve gotten angry at someone bringing awareness to the dog meat industry? Probably not. They would’ve been cheered on, in that case. Ever wonder why?
            Granted , I’m not supporting the idea of busting in on restaurants all the time.. but a few random interruptions is not going to send anyone to a therapist.
            Please focus on the real victims-the animals. .. Also you never answered the question– If we as humans can exist without taking another life/ without harming another, why would we choose to do so?

          • Peter Robbins

            I am grouping big thugs with little thugs, so the comparisons are valid. But to show I’m flexible, I’ll let you decide you gets the first, second and third prizes.

            Now if actually you want to discuss veganism with me (in a restaurant or elsewhere), here’s a little trick you can use: start by asking if you can have a moment to discuss veganism. Then I will decide if you’re worth my time, not you. And if I tell you to buzz off, that’s what you do. As a sentient, albeit merely human, being I am entitled to that level of respect under utilitarian, deontological, virtue or any other brand of ethics. Besides, if the movies teach us anything, is that unwanted intrusions on dining experiences, even to discuss something as important as vegetarian issues, have a way of turning out badly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_eVV7bbZtU.

          • Peter Robbins

            And, yes, I still haven’t answered the grand question of which you are so proud, but only because you’ve framed it poorly. Let me rephrase it: If you can advocate for animal welfare more effectively using means that cause no harm to other human beings, why would you choose to employ a restaurant-disruption tactic that a) harms other human beings by violating their autonomy and right to be left alone; b) is ineffective (you admit it’s rarely worth using); c) is extremely unlikely to result in demonstrable benefit to a single animal; and d) is very likely to trigger a counter-productive backlash even from people otherwise sympathetic to the cause (as we can see from the comments on this thread)? There. Now the question is on-point. I already know the answer, but you can take a stab at it if you like.

    • SpareChange

      Now… was that really so hard? Yeah, the sanctimoniousness tone is still reminiscent of religious zealots, but at least this is an attempt to appeal to the rational in people. Leave the other stuff to the Westboro Church folks. You will find the people you are attempting to reach much more receptive.

      • Liz Burns

        Spare Change–If we as humans can exist without taking another life/ without harming another, why would we choose to do so?

  10. StanHawkins

    I still find this entire thread rather humorous. Just to clarify my dry humor; my earlier very brief comment was intended to make fun of the agitators, not the ones attempting to enjoy a dinner out.

    Someone in this thread mentioned Alinsky, in the context that even he in his writings warned the disruptors and the agitators of the perils of overstepping the norms of reasonable resistance behavior. Not being a fan of his rules, a stretch for me to recommend this one. But, it seems very appropriate in so many ways.

    I can find no reasonable excuse or multitude of statistics that would support the invitation to the rudeness depicted in the original post. This is where the rubber meets the road in agenda advocacy.

    Full disclosure; my household is approximately a 90% plant based diet. It was not easy for me to get there. Peaceful research, inquiry, and education with the help of a loving spouse were the keys to actually feeling better after a meal.

    Dale Carnegie wrote a book many years ago, “How To Win Friends & Influence People.” Perhaps we all could use a refresher.

    • Liz Burns

      Good for you , good for the animals and good for the environment ( that you are on a 90% plant based diet. ) Is it for your health? for the animals? the environment? or all three? if you don’t mind me asking……
      I’ll share my experience- I was vegetarian for decades .-Because I loved all animals. Little did I know that dairy farming is the worst it can get.. So I can understand how people do not know the basics of dairy production (even small farms).
      —Mom cow is repeatedly forcibly impregnated by human shoving arm up her (‘rape rack’)
      —Baby calf is taken away from mom within hours of birth
      —Baby male calf is sent to veal/beef slaughter or shot shortly after birth.
      —Baby female calf sent to slaughter or put in hutch (alone )and will eventually become dairy cow.
      —Human’s steal baby calf’s growth fluid (‘milk’) by pumped out by machines.
      —Repeat process over and over…..
      —When mom cow cannot produce enough (a few years) , she is sent to slaughter exactly the same way cows raised for beef are slaughtered. Shackled, bled (often while still conscious due to the frequent failing of the bolt-gun), disemboweled, and skinned
      But word is getting out.. So many great groups around- Mothers Against Dairy/ MilkHurts.org/
      (Forgive me if you already do not consume Dairy)

      For my own advocacy- I like to think that everyone or at least most people have empathy and compassion. It’s just that they have never been confronted with this dilemma. I say -dilemma b/c most people beliefs do not match their actions. So Vegan advocacy is not about converting or changing people’s moral values. Because most people already believe that unnecessary cruelty to humans and nonhumans is wrong. Yet we’re all taught to turn a blind eye to what happens to ‘farmed’ animals.
      A very interesting /intellectual talk/video by Melanie Joy( I think you would enjoy-)-if you have not already seen it– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao2GL3NAWQU

      A great helpful website (to maybe inspire you to up your percentage ;) )—–http://www.challenge22.com/challenge22

      PS-About -“How To Win Friends & Influence People.” — if I wanted to win friends , I would never mention veganism.. (ha ). but agreed- the most effective activism comes from a place of love , peace and understanding.

  11. Stan Hawkins

    One of the benefits of maturity is knowing when to consider change and how one receives and processes the information that is available. Certainly taking care of one’s health is a priority. That is what lead me to a plant-based diet.

    To place the rights of animals over the rights of a human being is in itself an immature position, as pointed out some 2,000 or so years ago. To jump into someone’s face promoting this agenda is an immature act. To expect reasonable people to respond favorably to an immature act is, yes you guessed it, immature. Thus the whole equation perpetrated by the agitators is, well immature.

    Why don’t we just try maturity for a change?

    • Richard B.

      Stan and Peter. I am envious of your ability to wordsmith. Both right on and well said.

      Ms. Burns, you deserve and A for persistence and doggedness.
      However, this perseverative style of argument is often associated with a bit of close mindedness, an
      inability to see and/or comprehend another’s point of view or perspective.
      There is perhaps no one who can claim the high moral ground here, as it is true that animals on the human food
      chain do suffer on some level. It is also true that the human experience of such behavior certainly predates modern
      times. So therefore I come down somewhere between Stan, Peter, and all the other. However, there is no doubt
      that the tactics by the protesters as described by Mr. Carter are not very effective in any event.

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