KELOWNA - Dan Moskaluk was the public face of the RCMP’s Southeast District for a decade, embodying local law and order where news cameras were rolling.
Lately, however, he’s been making appearances for a different crowd.
As Mayor Colin Basran proclaimed Vegan Week in Kelowna, Moskaluk, who retired from the RCMP last year, demonstrated his dedication to a way of life that in recent months put him at odds with his old profile.
Moskaluk, who adopted a whole food, plant-based diet in 2013 after being diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer, was one of the more high profile protesters who gathered April 29 at the Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford.
“There were 150 protesters on public space supporting a team of 65 animal activists that trespassed onto the property,” he said. “It wasn’t to cause damage, harm or to threaten farmers or their families, but simply to capture images and photographs so the public can see first hand what goes on.
“The animal agriculture industry has been operating for 50 years in total secrecy and people have a right to know how their food is made and what happens to these animals before they end up on their plate.”
Moskaluk admits his political take on agriculture and the actions it’s sparked has raised eyebrows among his policing peers.
“It’s something that has been discussed. It’s interesting, I have had support from many and questions from a lot of others,” he said. “Our corporate lawyer, interestingly enough, his comment to me was that he was happy to see me taking on this issue and given what I’ve been doing for 10 years now, as a trusted spokesperson, he was hoping I would continue to be a voice of reason and that I would be able to help both sides of this issue.”
His hope is he will be able to educate the public about animal agriculture’s issues and help activists remain safe and aware of the consequences of their actions.
“We have different types of social movements, and animal rights are a major social movement,” he said.
Moskaluk said he began this journey for the health aspect, then he started to consider two other elements of the “trifecta”— the environment and animal ethics.
“We have to look at what we’re doing and how we’re getting our nutrients and what the sources are and the effect on the planet and the environment,” he said.
Working to protect animal welfare, he said, also aligns well with his 33-year career with the RCMP.
“It’s why I became a police officer — to help victims and to intervene when I see violence and when there’s victimization,” he said. “Following our health journey I learned more about animal rights and the treatment of animals and our animal agriculture system. I was (horrified) with what I was seeing and learning about it. The brutality seen in animal agriculture created a passion that would want me to act on (their) behalf and intervene in any way I could — violence is violence regardless of the species.”
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran stood outside City Hall Wednesday and declared May 19 to May 26 the official Vegan Awareness Week.
It’s the first Vegan Awareness Week in the country and dovetails with VegFest Kelowna takes place Sunday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. at Immaculata High School.
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