THE defiant owners of an Adelaide pizza restaurant facing a backlash for hanging a dead cow from the ceiling say it is not a stunt but an ethical act to raise issues around dairy production.
Etica Restaurant, in Halifax St in the city, has been bombarded on its Facebook page with angry posts declaring the suspension of eight-year-old cow Schvitzy is obscene, shocking and “utterly disgusting”.
Federico Pisanelli, who owns Etica: Pizza al Taglio with wife Melissa, says the pose of the cow, hung by her heels, is “purposely confronting”, but that they have received many positive comments since the restaurant opened 12 weeks ago.
“The last 48 hours on social media doesn’t represent the overall feedback we’ve received,” said Mr Pisanelli, who runs a second restaurant in the city.
“It’s been overwhelmingly productive and we have fully engaged with customers about what the cow represents.
“Many of the Facebook comments seem misinformed about why the cow is there. The installation is a means of highlighting the realities of the (dairy) industry.”
The stuffed black and white Friesian-Hereford cross, suspended in an atrium above the dining space, was commissioned from Melbourne Museum taxidermist Dean Smith.
“This is not a marketing campaign to attract clientele … we did this as an expression in line with our own principles,” Mr Pisanelli said.
The couple, who say they are on a “moral journey”, posted a statement on Facebook to counter the growing tide of protests that have become increasingly angry and extreme.
It reads in part: “The pose of Schvitzy, as she was affectionately known, is purposely confronting. She has not been hung for decoration. The installation has a mission: it aims to draw a connection to the true consequence of consuming dairy. We do not aim to influence on whether one should consume dairy, but rather, we urge our consumers to understand the origin of their food in order to make a conscious decision on whether to eat it.”
The statement ends: “Peace, love and pizza.”
The couple say Schvitzy was slaughtered at her owners’ Mt Barker farm and her meat was “entirely consumed” before her skin was stuffed.
Condemnation on Facebook included: “You are just full of s**t, sensationalist f…wits. Don’t believe that there is no such thing as bad publicity.”
A petition asking for the owners to remove the cow, on change.org, raised by Jacqueline Woish, of Sarasota, Florida, had received almost 3500 signatures by Tuesday.
Kiel Salman took an opposing view: “This is life. Do you walk past a butcher shop and complain about salami hanging in the shop? Lol you have no idea.”