VEGAN protesters have demonstrated outside an ethical health food shop, criticising it for selling animal products.

About a dozen members of Brighton Vegan Activists (BVA) stood outside Hisbe food store in York Place, Brighton, to condemn the “so-called ethical supermarket” for selling meat and dairy.

A spokesman for BVA said: “When Hisbe first opened a lot of us were excited by the thought of an independent, local and most importantly ethical and sustainable supermarket.

“Sadly that is not what we have been given with Hisbe.

“At first distracted by their large vegan range and refills, which is great, it took a little while before we really took note of all the milk, eggs, honey and dead flesh on sale and how it is marketed.

“Hisbe likes to plaster the works ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ all over their walls and signs but they aren’t willing to live up to those words.”

A former customer of Hisbe, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “They have mocking signs depicting animals with crowns and lipstick.

“The way this so called ‘ethical’ supermarket sees animals is as commodities for profit and nothing more.”

The BVA demonstrators said the main aim of the protest was to demand Hisbe takes down the “unethical signs and to “stop selling the dead animal bodies, eggs and dairy”.

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A spokesman for BVA attending the protest said: “The reaction from the public was mixed as we expected.

“Some of Hisbe’s customers who buy animal flesh from the store didn’t like us pointing out the hypocrisy of ‘happy’ meat.”

The demonstration lasted more than two hours and other animal rights activists joined in.

But Hisbe owner Ruth Anslow said the team was “passionately against factory-farming” and worked with local, small-scale farms where the animals lead “healthy, happy lives”.

She said she strongly believed that was an ethical approach to sourcing meat, eggs and dairy.

She said: “A few people have said that they think this is irrelevant when ultimately these animals are killed for food.

“We respectfully disagree.

“We also respect everyone’s right to define their dietary needs and their personal ethics however they choose, and to shop and eat accordingly.

“If anyone doesn’t see their own ethics and values reflected at Hisbe, why not do what we did and invent your own version of how it should be, with others who see things your way.”