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Monday, June 5, 2023
Animal rights group pours out wine in ‘spectacle’ Saturday

A group of animal rights activists followed through with a promised “spectacle” at the Icewine Village in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Saturday; six members poured out bottles of wine to garner “more attention for the cause.”

Adam Stirr, co-founder of the group At War for Animals Niagara, said the new tactic aims to bring awareness to the issue of using animals. The action was live-streamed and posted to the group’s social media channels.

As to how the pouring of wine would actually benefit the cause, Stirr said it’s about making a scene.

“I guess it's just attention right, it's just about drawing attention to the cause. And that's something that activists have used throughout history – it’s just different forms of spectacle,” he said.

The animal rights group is asking its supporters to boycott NOTL wineries and businesses.

Many attendees entering the village took notice of the act before carrying on to the festival.

Kelly Beddick from East Aurora, New York was in town Saturday. After witnessing the activists dumping out bottles of wine she said she couldn’t understand the protests.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. I have girlfriends who ride horses – they love it, the horses love it. They’re treated better than most children are treated. They’re cared for and loved,” she said.

“I just don’t get it.”

In a social media post about the demonstration by opposition group Locals For Carriages, comments pointed out that buying NOTL wines, whether to pour out or drink, is still supporting the town's wine industry.

“I don't get it, they bought about eight bottles of wine from here isn't that supporting NOTL wineries?” said a comment by Facebook user Kari Frank.

“In order to waste it, they have had to buy it which supports Niagara Wine,” echoed another comment by Laurie Jane.

Stirr said the group used bottles of wine it had “laying around,” and that it was more of a “symbollic action.”

The protest group also created a Facebook group called “Don't Visit NOTL,” which as the name implies encourages people to boycott NOTL. The page only had three “likes.”

As of publication time the Facebook group was shut down by the activists. Stirr said it was created as a tactic to gauge the responses of carriage supporters and it “served its purpose.” 

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