Pair who ate raw squirrels outside vegan food stall fined
The two men claimed they were raising awareness about the dangers of not eating meat.
Two anti-vegan protesters have been fined after eating raw squirrels at a food market.
Deonisy Khlebnikov, 22, and Gatis Lagzdins, 29, tucked into the still fur-covered dead animals in front of members of the public, including young children, outside a vegan stall in Soho, in London’s West End.
The pair were asked to stop by onlookers, including the parent of an upset child, but continued their protest at the Soho Vegan Food Market in Rupert Street on March 30, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
They were both found guilty of a public order offence at City of London Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Senior CPS prosecutor Natalie Clines said: “Deonisy Khlebnikov and Gatis Lagzdins claimed they were against veganism and were raising awareness about the dangers of not eating meat when they publicly consumed raw squirrels.
“But by choosing to do this outside a vegan food stall and continuing with their disgusting and unnecessary behaviour despite requests to stop, including from a parent whose child was upset by their actions, the prosecution was able to demonstrate that they had planned and intended to cause distress to the public.
“Their pre-meditated actions caused significant distress to members of the public, including young children.”
The pair denied using disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress at a trial but were both convicted.
Khlebnikov, from Westminster, was fined £200 plus costs and a surcharge, while Lagzdins, from Ealing, west London, who did not attend the hearing, was fined £400 plus costs and a surcharge.
A statement from Soho Vegan Market said: “Soho Vegan Market was created so that people, both vegan and otherwise, could try delicious and different plant-based food in a brilliant and easily accessible location in the heart of London.
“We’ve been open for almost a year now and have seen thousands of people visit over this time with no conflict between vegans and meat eaters at all, which of course is what we are aiming for.
“We do not condone the actions of known anti-vegan YouTuber Sv3rige, we’re disappointed that it disrupted the vibrant and diverse weekly event and are glad to see those involved have been charged for their actions.
“We would like to thank the police and others who reacted quickly to prevent any further disruption or upset to our patrons.”