a real hangup

Restaurant Gets Predictable Backlash After Hanging Taxidermy Cow From Its Ceiling

Etica is a new pizzeria in Australia that feels a Neapolitan pie is infinitely improved if eaten alongside a “thoughtful conversation” about “the origin of dairy.” To increase the odds of this happening, the restaurant hung a large stuffed cow from a beam in the ceiling in a manner best described as slaughterhouse-esque:

The uncomfortable installation looks like what you’d get if PETA hired Damien Hirst. Etica isn’t vegan — its menu not only has tons of cheese, but also includes dishes like beef carpaccio, bluefin tuna, and salami — but it does aim to help consumers make an “informed choice” about sourcing animal products. (All of Etica’s come from farms that practice “the highest welfare standards,” and etica is Italian for “ethical,” its website explains.)

It’s been difficult so far for animal-rights activists to understand how a cow dangling overhead helps accomplish that. A Change.org petition with more than 5,000 signatures calls the installation “unspeakable, atrocious, and shocking to see,” and demands the restaurant remove it — or rather her, since “it” was once a she — from the ceiling immediately. “There is a pizza place in Adelaide, South Australia which displays a real dead mother cow’s body hanging over tables by her feet where their customers eat,” it says, before calling the cow “a grand display of the cognitive dissonance in our society” that “creates a space for people to get more comfortable with the death and torture of other species.”

Besides a 12-paragraph Facebook post contextualizing the stunt, owners Federico and Melissa Pisanelli have published a four-page defense on Etica’s website explaining why there must be a taxidermy cow above diners’ heads. Firstly, the location was “designed to reflect a slaughterhouse,” they write, and secondly, the whole point of Etica is to challenge “how we consider a food venue in contemporary Australia.” Their exegesis notes that the cow’s pose “is not idyllic: it contradicts our programmed perceptions of a dairy cow.” They’ll happily call it a win if customers leave pondering just one vital question: “Would our attitude toward food be different if abattoirs were built with glass walls?”

Restaurant Hangs Stuffed Cow From Ceiling to ‘Promote’ Dairy