Park City activists, masked, promote animal rights, veganism | ParkRecord.com

Park City activists, masked, promote animal rights, veganism

Katherine Thomas, Gary Jones, right, and a man who declined to be identified participate in an Anonymous for the Voiceless demonstration on Main Street on Friday evening. The group supports animal rights and promotes a vegan diet.

A small group of people, most masked, held a largely silent demonstration on Main Street on Friday evening in support of animal rights, standing on a well-traveled section of the sidewalk holding signs or laptop computers showing footage of animals raised on large farms sometimes referred to as factories.

The demonstrators did not appear to draw lots of attention from the crowds in Park City for the three-day Memorial Day weekend, but the local chapter of an organization called Anonymous for the Voiceless intends to continue to stand on Main Street once a month through at least the fall. The Friday demonstration was the third on Main Street, the group said.

The organization presses issues like opposition to the fur industry and animal testing. It also supports a vegan diet that is free of meat, dairy, eggs and fish. Lauren Lockey, a Summit County resident involved with Anonymous for the Voiceless who attended Friday, said the Park City chapter of the group focuses on the vegan diet, or one that does not include animals.

"It's important for people to know the impact of our choices," Lockey said, adding that people who eat food from animals raised on large farms are "supporting the suffering of billions of animals."

She said there is an abundance of healthy foods like plant-based meat substitutes, grains, fruits, vegetables and potatoes that can be consumed instead. Lockey said animal-based foods are a leading cause of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. There is an impact on the environment as well, she said, arguing that raising animals as a food source is a factor in a changing climate.

Four of the demonstrators on Friday stood around a light pole in what the movement calls a Cube of Truth. Two of the people held the laptop computers for passersby to watch the footage.

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The masks are widely associated with the Anonymous movement even though the Anonymous for the Voiceless chapter is not a part of that broader campaign. Lockey said the demonstrators' masks allow someone to be more comfortable watching the footage on a screen held by one of them.

The demonstrators briefly talk to people who watch the footage. Lockey said upward of 15 to 20 people have stopped to watch the footage each evening the group has been on Main Street. The demonstrators also provide information about vegan resources.

The central Anonymous for the Voiceless website early in the week indicated the organization had staged approximately 4,000 demonstrations in 62 countries. It said the movement had "convinced at least 152,398 bystanders to take veganism seriously." Anonymous for the Voiceless takes an "abolitionist stance on animal exploitation," according to the website.

Main Street has long been the preferred location for demonstrations centered on a wide range of issues, generally ones linked to the political left. Some of the demonstrations over the years have involved animal-rights protesters targeting Main Street's fur sellers.

Lockey is one of the founders of Sage Mountain, a Park City area-based not-for-profit organization that supports human diets that do not include foods from animals. It also operates a small sanctuary for farm animals and promotes a vegan lifestyle.