Mana restaurant 'confused' over protest by Animal Rebellion

05 December 2022 by
Mana restaurant 'confused' over protest by Animal Rebellion

The chef-patron of Michelin-starred Manchester restaurant Mana has said he was "confused" by the targeting of his "highly sustainable restaurant" by Animal Rebellion protestors on Saturday evening (3 December).

Just after 7pm, 16 supporters of Animal Rebellion entered the venue in Manchester's Ancoats district and occupied tables reserved for customers.

Police attended and arrested 14 people on suspicion of aggravated trespass, who have since been bailed pending further enquiries.

Mana chef Simon Martin said he and his team had tried to politely ask protesters to leave but that they had refused to engage.

Martin added: "Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs, we are confused as to why the protestors chose to target a restaurant that prioritises sustainability and animal welfare, instead of a corporate fast-food chain.

"Mana has always been a highly sustainable restaurant, sourcing hyper local and sustainably-produced vegetables from small businesses just like ourselves who abstain from GMOs, herbicides and pesticides. Farms for livestock we use are personally visited by members of the team to ensure standards there meet our criteria for supply, and seafood is strictly captured by hand or line.

"The cost of a meal at Mana is reflective of these production methods, which are lower yield and higher quality. It's ironic that the protesters who are campaigning for better food supply do not realise the cost attached to the quality, leading us to believe they do not fully understand their cause."

Martin went on to thank his guests and team members who continued service, following a three-hour delay.

Superintendent Ian Jones of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said: "GMP respects the right of people to protest peacefully and so will always, in the first instance, engage with organisers and demonstrators to facilitate this - as per national guidance.

"It is, however, our responsibility to prevent and investigate crime, and keep people safe. In this case, and following engagement attempts, the most appropriate course of action was to make arrests."

On the same evening at around 6pm, eight activists entered Nusr-Et restaurant in London. At both sites the activists held up ‘mock menus' outlining the group's core demands, including calls for a plant-based food system and mass rewilding.

Three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London's Chelsea and the Catch at the Old Fish Market in Weymouth were the targets of similar disruption by Animal Rebellion protesters two weeks ago.

At the time a spokesperson for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay said: "Everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs. However, to force your way into a restaurant, disturbing hard-working staff going about their jobs and ruining the evening of guests who have waited months for their reservations is incredibly inappropriate and deeply disrespectful."

Animal Rebellion has said it will continue to target high-end restaurants until the government "takes meaningful action on the climate and ecological emergencies".

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