UPDATE: Animal rights activists arrested after shutting down Kelowna Interior Savings branch - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Animal rights activists arrested after shutting down Kelowna Interior Savings branch

Protesters have tied themselves together to prevent staff and customers from entering Interior Savings. They oppose the use of animals for meat and targeted the credit union for its support of the annual RibFest barbecue event in cities and towns in B.C.
November 18, 2019 - 11:30 AM

A Kelowna branch of Interior Savings was locked down this morning by protesters over the financial institution's support for Ribfest.

Eight protesters chained themselves to the entrance of Interior Savings branch in downtown Kelowna at Bernard Avenue and Richter Street this morning, Nov. 18.

RCMP officers have since removed the protesters from the doorway into a waiting police van. They were arrested but police haven't said what charges they may face. 

The group said in a press release Interior Savings plays a big role in sponsoring not only the Kelowna RibFest but other RibFests across B.C. They are typically outdoor barbecue festivals, often featuring plenty of food trucks and other vendors with rib recipes. 

“Festivals like these cannot happen without sponsors donating money, therefore we are calling on Interior Savings to stop supporting a festival that destroys our environment and supports farms that have been proven to conduct criminal animal cruelty,” activist Amy Soranno said.

The activists say the Excelsior hog farm in Abbotsford supplies pig ribs to many of RibFest's vendors. They accuse the farm of "criminal animal cruelty" and claim that cruelty has been filmed by undercover investigators.

“We are bringing to the public’s attention that Interior Saving’s is spending money to support unnecessary animal slaughter, criminal animal cruelty, and the destruction of our planet," Soranno said in the news release.

They say they have taken this action after earlier complaints were ignored.

“We have protested, written e-mails, held demonstrations, and so much more," the group states in the release. "This has been ongoing for many years now, yet our concerns have been laughed off, by not only the organizers of RibFest, but also the sponsors of the event, such as Interior Savings.”

Interior Savings, meanwhile, says it isn't backing down from its support for RibFest. While it didn't specifically confirm it will remain with RibFest, spokesperson Sue Manzuik said in a release the partnership with RibFest has raised money for local charities, including Jo-Anna's House, where people can stay while caring for family members at Kelowna General Hospital. 

She said company representatives have spoken with protesters to hear their concerns.

 

RCMP officers speak with protestors who have locked themselves to a door at the Interior Savings Credit Union branch on Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.
RCMP officers speak with protestors who have locked themselves to a door at the Interior Savings Credit Union branch on Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.

— This story was updated at 9:14 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, with video from the protest.

— This story was updated at 11:22 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 to include an update and a response from Interior Savings. 


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