Unapologetically aggressive vegan activist Tash Peterson is at it again, this time ambushing a West Australian seafood restaurant to abuse diners as they ate dinner.
The Perth-based animal rights campaigner, who caused a stir in January after storming a Bunnings fundraiser run by firefighters, filmed her latest stunt at Bathers Beach House in Fremantle.
In wild scenes, which Peterson uploaded to her Instagram page, she leads a group of five into the restaurant.
They hold signs as she begins shouting at diners: “This is an emergency. I repeat, this is an emergency! The whole ocean is under threat. Right at this moment there are millions of fish, dolphins and whales being ripped from the open in massive trawler nets and they are suffocating to death. This is the largest holocaust in history.”
But she is immediately rejected by her audience, as several say “go away” and “piss off”. A restaurant staffer quickly approaches Peterson and asks her to leave but she continues to walk around the tables yelling at those eating their dinner before climbing on to a bench to speak over the crowd.
Glancing repeatedly at her mobile phone to read her next line, Peterson eventually moves outside after being warned she is trespassing.
About two minutes in one employee becomes more forceful, ushering a man who is filming the action away from the building.
“I’ve asked nicely, now it’s time to leave,” he says.
“Stop touching me,” the video man replies.
Peterson continues to shout “animal abusers” and “fish feel pain”, prompting another diner to confront her and attempt to discuss the issue, to no avail.
Peterson later defended her approach, arguing media coverage of her stunt made it a success.
“Would the media attention my protests receive exist if I stood outside of a business and did a more peaceful speech? No,” she wrote.
“Would this article exist if I didn’t cause some chaos and disrupt? No.
“Would this article exist if I decided to start some conversations and educate people about the animal holocaust? No.
“My protests aim on reaching an audience via media attention, not to reach people in that moment. You can reach thousands, if not millions more people via disruptive protesting rather than having a conversation with ten or so people.
“This is how social change is created. This is how gay rights went from a criminal offence to a constitutional right. This is how women went from having no voting rights to being able to vote. They all disrupted. They were highly criticised and disliked by the majority. But within a short period of time – the majority supported their rights and unjust laws were changed.
“Disruption is the greatest weapon of social change. It is essential to disrupt if we want the world to listen and talk about animal rights, and it is vital to the movement’s success.”
Reaction to the stunt was mixed. “Honestly this is just so disrespectful,” one woman replied to Peterson’s post. “Let people live their life and enjoy a meal with their friends or family without being yelled at. This way of ‘protesting’ is not ever going to make anyone want to go vegan.”
But another replied: “Great work Tash and I know the animals would be very thankful for you. You have clearly brought so much awareness to this fish massacre that needs to be abolished.”
Ms Peterson is no stranger to controversy: she gained notoriety for accosting shoppers at Coles dressed as a blood-soaked abattoir worker in December 2019, and running onto the field during the first AFLW Derby at Opus Stadium last February.
During the former incident, she held a fake dead chicken under her arm and blasted noises from animals reportedly recorded inside slaughter houses, holding a sign that read: “Coles/Woolworths Tell them the truth”.
In a series of social media posts, she revealed she’d been sent death threats for the stunts, with one message threatening to “come with a knife and slit your throat”.