Animal rights activists planning protest at Kelowna Ribfest launch and main event
Protesters plan on scuttling an annual Rotary Club fundraiser in Kelowna that features meat on the menu.
“There are a number of citizens opposed who will be present tomorrow and who will be protesting the event throughout the Ribfest weekend,” an email from Kelowna animal rights activist Karen Stiewe said on Tuesday night.
The media launch of Ribfest is the first target for protesters, which takes place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at Kelowna’s City Park, according to Stiewe.
A Facebook Group for Anonymous for the Voiceless states they will be holding a ‘Cube of Truth’ event at City Park on Friday, Aug. 24, where Ribfest will take place.
Previous ‘Cube of Truth’ events feature participants wearing Guy Fawkes masks, standing back-to-back in a square holding laptops that are playing graphic videos of farm animals being treated inhumanly.
Stiewe sent Global News a copy of a letter sent to the Kelowna’s Sunrise Rotary Club dated Aug. 3 and signed by Kim Gaalaas, another Okanagan animal rights activist.
The three-page letter begins by recognizing Rotary Club “exemplary efforts” across Canada but continues by suggesting Ribfest events do not currently align with Rotary’s mission statement “to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.”
The letter includes quotes from doctors, researchers, a Mississauga city councillor and Okanagan RCMP member Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, who in recent years has been spokesperson for the B.C. South East Division and has been outspoken in his private life about the vegan diet. Moskaluk and his wife have been featured in the documentary ‘Eating You Alive’ for their lifestyle change that they attribute to significant health improvements.
“We understand Ribfests are one of the most lucrative fundraisers for Rotary Clubs in Canada in support of commendable humanitarian causes,” Gaalaas said in the letter. “Would Sunrise Rotary Club work with local professionals, volunteers, and businesses to create an equally lucrative, family festival which aligns more with Rotary Club’s values and missions?”
Gaalaas suggested changing “Ribfest events to a healthier, kinder and environmentally friendly family festival in Kelowna and across Canada.”
The letter was copied to Kelowna’s mayor and councillors as well as the event’s main sponsor Interior Savings.
Global News reached out to Gaalaas, Stiewe and Sunrise Rotary Club’s president Maribeth Friesen for comment.
At publication time, no response was received from any of the three.
Kelowna Ribfest is a major fundraiser for JoeAnna’s House, a home-away-from-home in the works for those traveling to Kelowna for treatment at the Kelowna General Hospital.
About 20,000 people have been said to attend previous events, according to Ribfest organizers.
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