PETA isn't an organization prone to subtlety. When the animal rights group paid for a billboard directly in view of butcher shop Publican Quality Meats' West Loop storefront, it aimed to provoke. "You Can Live Without Those Ribs. I Can't," reads the billboard's text next to a photo of a piglet, with the slogan "Try Vegan."

But rather than firing back with snark, Publican Quality Meats on Monday morning posted a long, measured defense of eating meat on the shop's Facebook page.

"Anyone who ... thinks we're going to mock or belittle PETA or their mission will have to go shopping somewhere else. We respect any serious and intelligent personal philosophy and admire PETA's knack for provocation and creative chutzpah," the missive begins.

It goes on to explain PQM's commitment to selling "humanely raised, ethically slaughtered" animals, and defends the shop's rationale for meat consumption.

It's a long read (find the full text here), but it ends with a simple message: "Thanks for reading through this long piece. Don't make fun of PETA."

kbernot@tribune.com  @redeyeeatdrink