'Cannibal Cafe' in Berlin a Vegetarian Campaign Hoax

Published on
by
the Guardian/UK

'Cannibal Cafe' in Berlin a Vegetarian Campaign Hoax

German Vegetarian Society says Flime restaurant was ruse to illustrate damage done by over-consumption of meat

by
Kate Connolly in Berlin

It boasted that it would introduce a new dining movement to Germany,
called for diners to donate body parts to be incorporated into the
dishes, and even advertised for a surgeon to perform the amputations.

But
Flime, the Berlin restaurant which was nicknamed the "Cannibal Cafe"
and was due to open in Berlin today has - perhaps not surprisingly -
been exposed as a fake.

Flime stands for Fleisch Isst Menschen, or
Meat Eats People, and has been revealed as the idea of the German
Vegetarian Society (Vebu) as a rather obscure way to bring consumers'
attention to the evils of meat-eating.

The only trouble is that
the publicity sparked by the high-profile promotion for the hoax
restaurant has far outweighed the attention paid to today's press
conference at which Vebu announced it was all a ruse to illustrate a
serious point.

"Vebu wants to draw attention to all of us who are
affected by the worldwide consumption of meat," the society said in a
statement. It pointed out that every 3.6 seconds somebody dies in the
world due to undernourishment, while the majority of grain production is
used for the feeding of farm animals. "Nobody really thinks about those
facts in their day-to-day routine. Because of that it was necessary to
call this creative campaign into action," said Sebastian Zösch of Vebu
at a Berlin press conference.

Vebu added that livestock farming
"produces more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector"
and that water consumption could be cut drastically if people gave up
eating meat, due to the large quantities of it that are used in meat
production.

Last month the Guardian reported
that the campaign for the restaurant which was in newspapers, online,
on TV and radio, had provoked angry reactions from Berlin residents,
many of whom were reminded of the case of the German cannibal Armin Meiwes who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering and consuming Berlin technician Bernd Brandes in 2001.

The
supposed restaurant owners claimed their cuisine was inspired by the
indigenous Brazilian Waricaca tribe, famous for once practicing the
ritual of "compassionate cannibalism", in which parts of the corpse of a
loved one were consumed as a way of coping with death.

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