An Adelaide pizza restaurant has faced a wave of criticism on social media after hanging a stuffed cow from its ceiling.
Etica Pizza’s Facebook page has been bombarded with comments of “disgusting”, “blatantly appalling” after it hung eight-year-old Schvitzy, a taxidermied Friesian-Hereford cow, above its dining area.
“Take the poor cow down she doesn’t belong there,” one complainant wrote.
“Tasteless maybe hang one of your staff up,” wrote another.
Other customers voiced their support and urged people to look at the message behind the installation.
“The cow installation is great and confronting,” wrote a supporter.
“If you enjoy dairy it should also be a catalyst for you to delve into the industry and educate yourself.”
Co-owner Melissa Pisanelli said their intention was to raise awareness of the realities of the dairy industry and was a challenge to the way society tended to obscure the origins of food.
While the restaurant is not vegan or vegetarian, serving both meat and dairy products, Ms Pisanelli said it was meant to be confronting.
“We can’t just look at things in pretty packets. We need to understand there is real sacrifice made to produce it,” she said.
The restaurant tried to allow people to make informed decisions around the sourcing of their food, Ms Pisanelli said.
But an online petition demanding the removal of Schvitzy had attracted more than 4500 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.
“This is unspeakable, atrocious and shocking to see, we wish for them to take her down ASAP,” the petition said.
“Absolutely disrespect for the animal,” wrote one signatory.
Restaurant co-owner Federico Pisanelli said it was a well thought out project to highlight ethical concerns and not a publicity stunt.
“Planning began over two and a half years ago with taxidermist Dean Smith from the Melbourne Museum commissioned to do the project”, Mr Pisanelli told AAP
Schvitzy was a pet to a farming family at Mount Barker and the restaurant said all of the cow’s meat was consumed before it was stuffed and hung.