UPDATE: Protesters, who chained themselves to the Interior Savings building in downtown Kelowna, have been removed from the site by police.
The animal rights activists were arrested for mischief and will have to appear in court at a later date.
The protesters were chained to the building for about four hours.
Interior Savings issued a news release that said it did meet with the protesters about their concerns but it added that it remains remains committed to supporting top-notch community events that raise tens of thousands of dollars for those in our community, who need a helping hand.
Interior Savings said Rib Fest is one of those events, which raises thousands of dollars to support local charities including Jo-Anna’s House, a home away from home for people whose families are receiving life-saving support from Kelowna General Hospital.
Interior Savings went on to say that Ribfest offers free and accessible entertainment to everyone in the community and that like most community events, it offers a selection of food options to suit people’s preferences.
Interior Savings said it appreciates and respects that everyone has a right to their opinion, to share their opinion and to choose a diet that makes sense for them.
ORIGINAL: About 20 animal rights activists chained themselves to a Kelowna building early Monday morning to protest against an annual event they say they’ve been trying to stop for years.
The protesters chained themselves to the Interior Savings building on Bernard Avenue just after 7 a.m.
“Extreme times call for extreme action,” said Amy Soranno, one of the protesters. “We have contacted Interior Savings for years now with our concerns and they have not addressed them.”
The concerns are over the annual Rib Fest, which takes place in Kelowna and elsewhere in B.C.
Interior Savings is the title sponsor of the event.
“Rib Fest is an environmentally and an animal ethically irresponsible event,” Soranno told Global News. “We are facing a Canadian climate crisis right now. Canada just declared a national climate emergency driven by animal agriculture, so hosting events like Rib Fest, and having Interior Savings sponsor events like Rib Fest is incredibly irresponsible.”
The protesters said they are not affiliated with any particular group but rather they are concerned citizens, who care about animal rights and the environment.
“Our one ask here today is we’d like Interior Savings to drop their sponsorship for Rib Fest,” Soranno said.
Police have arrived on scene and are attempting for the two sides to communicate.
The group acknowledged the protest is illegal but added it was given no other choice.
“We’ve done legal protests for years now,” Soranno said. “Our concerns have been ignored, they have not been addressed.”
It’s not clear how the protest will impact the business day at Interior Savings at this point.