Ballarat’s vegan community is inviting residents to show solidarity with the world’s four-legged friends by going voiceless this Sunday.
The Voiceless Walk around Lake Wendoureee will kick off the week-long Ballarat Vegan Festival, in its second year, to raise awareness of what happens to animals during the farming process.
Going silent during the walk is bound to make a bold political statement, inspired by Sydney vegan James Aspey who went voiceless for an entire year and walked around Australia to raise awareness of animal rights.
The festival and walk follows a national day of action held last year in January, when vegans around the world went voiceless for 24 hours “to raise awareness for animals and promote peace over violence”.
Festival organiser Bryn Hills said everyone was welcome to join the walk, not just vegans or vegetarians.
“In their capacity to feel pain, suffering, misery and happiness, animals are exactly the same as us,” he said.
“Most people, by their nature, aren’t cruel. They just don’t make the connection between the chicken in their burger or their steak as having been a creature with feelings who suffered.”
Mr Hills said last year the Voiceless Walk was small, with only about 30 walkers. This year, he said he hoped the walk – and the festival overall – would be much bigger and would continue to grow.
“Part of it is about connecting people. That’s the biggest thing that we’ve noticed about this festival – you do so much networking and you learn so much; it creates awareness,” he said.
“If you’re concerned about how animals are treated, come along. I think most people are concerned about animal cruelty; it’s certainly not a vegan-only event.”
The Voiceless Walk will kick off at 9.30am on January 15 from the Olympic rings at Lake Wendouree, with walkers welcome to bring their pets. No farm animals will be taken on the walk.
Mobile Jungle Smoothies are available upon return, along with Bean Me Up coffee with vegan options.
Straight after the walk, a vegan high tea will be held at the Robert Clark Centre at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
Other festival highlights include art exhibitions, a lakeside picnic, cocktail party, vegan yum cha and a trip to Nintingbool Winery.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ballaratveganfestival