It’s a topic that tends to be avoided at Thanksgiving dinners.
But local activists brought it right to the source.
Several protesters gathered outside Patton Farms Inc., a new Kelowna turkey farm and slaughterhouse, on Sunday, Oct. 11 — the day before Thanksgiving.
The group rallied in an effort to highlight the dangers they believe are associated with the operation, which is slated to begin production late 2020 or early 2021.
Protesters called for Patton Farms to shift its business model towards plant-based food, making claims the meat farm will “decrease property values, contaminate water sources and increase violent crime rates.” The group did not elaborate on the correlation between crime rates and slaughterhouses.
“Allowing a facility like Patton is irresponsible and puts our community at risk,” said Amy Soranno, organizer of the protest. “Especially during a pandemic and a climate crisis it’s governmentally inappropriate to allow a slaughterhouse and factory farm in Kelowna.”
Carol Patton, who owns the farm with her husband Andre, said the protest felt like a personal attack — especially the signs that read “Shutdown Patton.”
“I’m Patton,” she told some of the protesters. “It’s very offensive for you to come and stand in front of my property. I wonder if any of you own small businesses?”
Patton told the Capital News many of the concerns raised by protesters don’t apply to her farm as it is not in the United States where fewer restrictions are in place.
“Canada is so highly regulated. We are so highly controlled,” she said. “For the sake of animal health and for human consumption and protecting, there are so many entities and criteria we have to meet in order to be able to process birds.
“They’re not targeting us because we did something wrong, they’re targeting the idea of us.”
Patton asked for a police presence during the protest to ensure overall safety.
“This isn’t an attack on local farmers or local businesses,” said Soranno. “This is simply us recognizing the negative impacts and destruction this will have on Kelowna.”
In addition to the Shutdown Patton campaign, activists have also created a petition calling for no slaughterhouses in Kelowna.
The group is stating that an industrial farm and slaughterhouse will negatively impact the local community, and inflict illnesses on nearby residents.
The group is asking people to e-mail their concerns to the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) at firstname.lastname@example.org