[UPDATE: Taco Asylum Responds] Animal Liberation Front Vandalizes Taco Asylum Restaurant

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*See end of post for Taco Asylum's official response to the Animal Liberation Front.

Original Post: Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.: The Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a radical animal rights group, has taken credit for an act of vandalism against Costa Mesa's Taco Asylum restaurant. The vandalism allegedly took place on the night of July 28 and involved the popular high-end, locally-sourced taco restaurant's front door locks being glued, red paint sprayed on the door (apparently to symbolize animal blood) and the words "Free the Animals" spray-painted on the wooden patio. A store employee told the Weekly that that both Costa Mesa police and the FBI met with restaurant staff this week to investigate the incident.

ALF took credit for the vandalism on a website called Bite Back Magazine and the group's message about the incident was also posted on the page of a sympathetic Facebook group titled "Empty Cages Worldwide." The message suggests that ALF took particular exception to Taco Asylum's connection with a San Diego area rabbit ranch named Hidden Haven Farms, which provides meat to the restaurant.

Here's ALF's message in full:

"Inspired by the recent actions in Portland and San Diego we decided to take action against Taco Asylum in Costa Mesa, CA. Taco Asylum serves rabbits, ducks, cows, and pigs in their dishes under the guise of 'free range', 'sustainable', and 'local' meat.

On the night of Sunday, July 28th we slipped into The Camp (a so called 'sustainable/green' shopping center) under the cover of darkness and glued the locks at Taco Asylum, located at 2937 S. Bristol St, B102 Costa Mesa, CA. We also spray painted the doors, patio, and entrance with red paint to represent the blood of the countless rabbits, ducks, pigs, chickens, and cows that they murder every year, leaving behind a message that read simply 'FREE THE ANIMALS' across their deck.

There is nothing 'sustainable' or 'green' in the business of animal agriculture, no matter how small and local the operation, and there is nothing compassionate or cruelty free about the murder of innocent animals. The rabbits that they serve come from Hidden Haven Farms, located at 18540 West Boundary Truck Trail Jamul, CA near San Diego. Maybe our unknown comrades in San can take this into account. This action was simple and took no more than a few minutes to complete. Actions like these and those that are on the rise in North America can be taken by anyone with a little bit of planning and a few minutes of your night.  This action was taken in solidarity with all animal liberation and anarchist prisoners around the world.

-ALF

The incident appears to be the first time ALF has targeted an Orange County restaurant, but not the first time the group has carried out an act of vandalism here. In November 2007, the group placed a small incendiary device outside a Wachovia bank branch in Laguna Woods.

Update, Aug. 8, 9:15 p.m.: Taco Asylum has released an official statement responding to ALF, expressing disappointment that the group chose a violent act to express its views rather than seek a dialogue with the restaurant.

Here is Taco Asylum's statement in full:

Not only did they destroy property and disrupt business, but their actions have made it abundantly clear that they do not wish to have any real dialogue. We will never condone or tolerate violence or threats in any form and will certainly not look to engage in such behavior. We will address their actions in a positive way by using this as an opportunity to educate our guests on where we source from and stand by the farms with whom we partner. We are just thankful that our employees were not harmed in any way.

-Chef Greg Daniels, Wil Dee and Ace Patel, partners, Taco Asylum.

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