02/20/2012 03:10 EST | Updated 04/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Protesters Want Horse Meat Off Bistro's Menu

Flickr: VerseVend

Protesters gathered in front of a Toronto French bistro on Monday, urging the owners to take horse meat off the menu.

Holding signs with pictures of their favourite horses, about a dozen protesters gathered outside LaPalette, located at 492 Queen St. W.

“Horses are pets, they are not livestock, they are not to be raised for food,” said Sherry Lounsbury.

Lounsbury keeps six horses on a farm near Welland and said one is used as a therapy horse, an animal she says has helped her through cancer treatments.

La Palette co-owner Shamez Amlani said he respects the group’s right to protest but will not remove horse meat from the menu.

“I have no intention of capitulating at this point,” he said. “It's considered offensive to eat horse meat in English-speaking countries, but it is a very culturally accepted thing in other parts of the world.

"We're not here to try and appeal to the masses, we're creating a piece of European culture in the city of Toronto. We have a cult following of people that come here and eat horse meat. It's a very healthy, safe meat to eat.”