A pair of anti-vegan protesters have been fined for eating raw squirrels in front of horrified onlookers – including children – at a food market.
Deonisy Khlebnikov, 22, and Gatis Lagzdins, 29, began biting chunks out of the dead animals in protest at a vegan stall in Soho, London.
The parent of an upset child asked the pair to stop but they continued their protest at the Soho Vegan Food Market in Rupert Street, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Footage of the incident showed one of the protesters wearing the animal’s carcass around his neck before being handcuffed and led away by police.
The pair were both found guilty of a public order offence at City of London Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay fines.
Lagzdins, from Ealing in west London, was fined £400 plus costs and a surcharge, while Khlebnikov, from Westminster, was fined £200 plus costs and a surcharge.
Their conviction comes after Lagzdins was filmed eating a raw pig’s head outside a vegan festival in March.
The YouTuber said veganism was “human cruelty” and was surrounded by pro-vegan activists as he ate the flesh outside VegFest in Brighton.
Senior CPS prosecutor Natalie Clines said the pair were protesting against veganism and said they were “raising awareness about the dangers of not eating meat”.
“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,” she said.
She added that their actions had “caused significant distress to members of the public, including young children”.
Khlebnikov and Lagzdins were both convicted after denying disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.