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 the 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

 

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

WATCH: Animal rights activist defends Monday’s Ribfest protest

Amy Soranno was one of seven activtists that chained themselves to a bank to protest Ribfest

Sponsors needed to help Kelowna families this season

Okanagan Boys and Girls Club “Adopt-A-Family” program kicks off for another year

Kelowna RCMP need 56 more officers by 2025: report

The additional officers would cost the city nearly $10 million

Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame welcomes 6 new inductees

Okanagan athletes and sports pioneers were added to the HOF Thursday

Pedestrian hit on corner of Burtch Road and Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna

Man has since been released with minor injuries

Get your head out of clouds, North Okanagan

Fall fog sticks around all day in northern portion of valley

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Keremeos Fire Department acquires new truck

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen approves fire truck purchases for Keremeos, Willowbrook

Wharton Street in Summerland open for traffic once again

Road closure had been in place for past five months for upgrade work

Most Read