Animal Rights Extremists Vandalize Sonoma, California Restaurant

On the night of August 9, animal right extremists broke into and vandalized a new restaurant in Sonoma, California and also damaged an adjoining 19th century historical building which had recently been restored.

Activists targeted Sonoma Saveurs because one of its owners, Guillermo Gonzalez, is the only producer of foie gras in the Western United States and the restaurant will feature foies gras, among other things, when it finally opens.

According to the Press Democrat, the animal rights activists got into the restaurant by squeezing through an exterior water heater closet and then tearing a hole in an interior wall. One in, they spray-painted animal rights slogans throughout the building, poured dry concrete down drains, and then turned on the water.

By the time the vandalism was discovered, water had seeped into surrounding buildings including a historic 19th century adobe building that had once been used by Mexican Gen. Mariano Vellejo. The water also damaged a women’s clothing store that adjoins the restaurant.

The three owners of the restaurant, Gonzalez, Laurent Manrique, and Didier Jaubert, have also faced acts of harassment and vandalism from animal rights extremists at their homes.

The Sonoma News reported that,

Late last month vandals trashed Jaubert’s home in Santa Rosa and Laurent’s residence in Mill Valley. They spray-painted the buildings, etched the windows with acid, poured glue in locks, covered a statue of a Buddha with red paint and splashed acid all over a car. A report lauding those attacks is posted on the Bite Back site.

Jaubert told the Sonoma News,

You can be tolerant, you can believe in freedom and respect diversity, but it is sometimes difficult to understand some actions. … If you don’t like foie gras I can understand. If you don’t want foie gras to be sold you can demonstrate in front of the store, you can write letters to the editor, you can do many things. But to destroy a historical building, to attack a family’s home, to do this at night and to be proud of your actions – this is very difficult for me to understand.

Total damage from the attack is estimated at $50,000.


Animal activists vandalize Sonoma Plaza restaurant. Mary Callahan, The Press Democrat, August 15, 2003.

Animal activists vandalize restaurant. Associated Press, August 15, 2003.

Vandals flood historic building. Patricia Henley, Sonoma News, August 15, 2003.