Vegan activist Gillian Walters will be one of several presenters at VegFest Kelowna 2019, which will take place on May 26 at Immaculata Regional High School. Walters’ presentation will focus on her B.C. dairy farm photography blog and milk as a feminist issue. (Contributed photo)

‘Not your mom, not your milk’: VegFest speaker talks dairy industry

Vegan activist Gillian Walters is one of the presenters who will speak at VegFest on May 26

A vegan activist set to speak in Kelowna this month wants people to see milk as a feminist issue.

Gillian Walters, who describes herself as an intersectional vegan activist, told the Capital News that dairy deserves that attention of feminists because the reproductive systems of female cows — the ones that have the ability to lactate — are being systematically exploited to produce milk products.

“I see [the cows] as mothers giving birth to babies and lactating, and their milk is not going to their babies,” she said. “The lactation, the milk that’s being produced for them, is being squeezed out of them for humans to drink.”

READ MORE: Dairy Farmers pull ad after complaints over allegedly misleading the public

Walters said that when she became a mother, she saw more of herself in cows, her favourite animal.

“Becoming a mother I felt even more closely related to that issue,” she said. “And as a feminist it’s all about speaking up for women’s rights.

“The fact that the whole industry is based on a female’s ability to reproduce, that’s what female rights are, that’s what feminism is, it’s about speaking up for our rights as a female body.”

Her message? “Not your mom, not your milk.”

Walters plans to share this message as well as information about her project MummyMOO, a blog with images of mother cows and baby cows that she photographed at B.C. dairy farms, at VegFest Kelowna 2019.

The fest is a rebranding of the Kelowna Vegan Festival, meant to make the event more inclusive for people who are not vegan.

This year the event is set to take place on May 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Immaculata Regional High School. It will include food trucks and vendors with vegetarian and vegan food and beverages, presentations, dance, music, and for the first time, demonstrations.

Walters’ presentation is scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the gym.

Through her blog and her VegFest appearance, Walters said she hopes to have conversations with farmers about the dairy industry.

“I would like them to transition to another way of farming where they can meet or exceed the profit that they’re making right now without harming animals,” she said. “I know that there are examples of that and I hope to bring them with me when I come to Kelowna.”

READ MORE: B.C. dairy farmers say milk cup is half full in new Canada Food Guide

READ MORE: Dairy farmers wary of federal effort to help industry

The City of Kelowna has designated the full week leading up to Walters’ presentation and the overall festival as Vegan Awareness Week.

In February Mayor Colin Basran signed a new proclamation that May 19 to 26 will be a week of awareness for plant-based diets, because they are healthy and require less resources, he said.

“I found it to be in line with many of the other events in our community that are promoting things going on in the world and in our community,” Basran told the Capital News. “This one I thought was worthy of a proclamation.”

According to VegFest organizer Sarah Parsons, Basran will read the proclamation outside of City Hall on May 22 at 10 a.m.

Aside from raising awareness, Parsons said the week will entail local vegan and vegetarian-friendly businesses offering a discount or special service.

She said the fest is working on a list of participating businesses, which will be posted on their website in the next few days.



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

King’s Vegetarian Food will be one of the many food and beverage trucks and vendors at VegFest Kelowna 2019, which will take place at Immaculata Regional High School on May 26. (Facebook photo)

Just Posted

LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland property taxes

Dear Editor: By now property owners in Summerland will have received their… Continue reading

COLUMN: Is parliament essential?

We need time to dig into the books and ensure that taxpayers are being respected

Heads up, it’s fawning season in Penticton

Baby deer seen frolicking through downtown Penticton Wednesday afternoon

Penticton RCMP express concern over allowing public drinking

RCMP said they expressed their concern to the city but will do their best ensure safety

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Police watchdog investigating fatal crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP received a report of a single-vehicle collision on Bulman Road near Highway 97 on June 1

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

Province looks to seize Kelowna home owned by alleged drug trafficker

Michelle Collins and Nigel Byrne were also recently investigated by Kelowna RCMP for drug trafficking

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Highway 1 closed after body found near Hope

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, highway has been closed for 10 hours in both directions

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Most Read