Report says Greater Vancouver Zoo failing animals - December 30, 2019
December 30, 2019
Report says Greater Vancouver Zoo failing animals
Undersized and barren enclosures prevent animals from engaging in natural behaviours
Vancouver – A report commissioned by the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Greater Vancouver Zoo (GVZ) to improve conditions for its animals and to move away from keeping animals unsuited to B.C.’s climate.
The report, commissioned from Zoocheck, found that many animals at the zoo are living in barren, under-sized cages and enclosures that restrict them from engaging in natural behaviours. The report also says the zoo does not provide adequate behavioural enrichment for the animals. (Behavioural enrichment involves providing animals with a stimulating environment that allows natural activities such as climbing, foraging or digging and also creates physical and cognitive tasks that simulate challenges animals would find in their natural environment.) The report notes these issues were identified in previous reports but little has changed.
“Captivity is never good for animals but the Greater Vancouver Zoo could at least provide animals with enclosures that allow them enough space and stimulation to avoid enduring lives of unrelenting boredom and frustration,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “These problems need to be addressed urgently. In the longer term, the zoo needs to stop keeping captive animals for entertainment and move toward being a sanctuary for native wildlife.”
The report is also critical of the zoo’s giraffe enclosure, describing it as unchanged since a 2003 report described it as “barren and lacking in any stimulation for the animals to engage in natural behaviours.” The report states that giraffes are not suited to B.C.s climate and suggests the zoo consider constructing a new, larger and climate-controlled enclosure or relocating the giraffes to a more species-appropriate facility elsewhere.
The report cites the zoo’s raptor exhibit (holding kestrels, owls, hawks, etc.) as an example of an under-sized enclosure that denies natural behaviours, stating: “There was little or no ability for the birds to engage in flight.”
“It seems bizarre to have to tell the zoo that birds need to fly,” said Fricker, “but sadly that’s what they need to hear.”
The report also found that:
Reptiles in the zoo’s vivarium are being kept in “very restricted circumstances” with “minimal” space in some of the exhibits. Most of the reptiles were “inactive” and some demonstrated repetitive behaviours, indicating lack of stimulation.
The hippopotamus enclosure is “barren, lacking any vegetation and or enrichment elements” and the indoor holding facility is “small and not suitable for the permanent keeping of these animals…”
The zoo’s lone red fox should be found a companion or be rehomed to a facility that can meet its social requirements.
Squirrel monkeys and coatimundi are in small enclosure and should be moved to more appropriate accommodation.
The zoo suffers from excessive groundwater (water-logging), which has led to muddy enclosures and standing water in some areas.
The report recommends:
That the zoo develop a comprehensive environmental/behavioural enrichment program for all its animals.
That the zoo stop keeping animals that aren’t suited to B.C.’s climate and those it cannot accommodate in a way that “satisfies their physical, psychological and social needs…”.
That inadequate, undersized cages and enclosures be enlarged or removed.
The full report can be seen here.
Partnership between charities and plant-based businesses helps farm animals on Giving Tuesday - December 2, 2019
December 2, 2019
Partnership between charities and plant-based businesses helps farm animals on Giving Tuesday
Vancouver – A unique partnership between two charities and 26 plant-based businesses in Metro Vancouver is raising funds to help farm animals on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd. Giving Tuesday, which follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is the biggest charitable giving day of the year.
The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) and The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary have partnered with a variety of local businesses offering vegan, vegetarian or cruelty-free products and services to raise $15,000. The money will be used to help rescued farm animals at the sanctuary and to support VHS’s Veg Outreach program, which promotes a plant-based diet and cruelty-free living.
The 26 businesses participating are offering a percentage of sales on Giving Tuesday or direct donations to support the campaign. VHS and The Happy Herd are encouraging the public to support the businesses or to make direct donations. Funds will be split between the two charities.
“It’s a great way to help farm animals right now and in the future,” said VHS development coordinator Claire Yarnold. “We’re grateful to these generous businesses who want to make a better world for farm animals.”
Diane Marsh, co-founder of The Happy Herd, said: “It is truly amazing that so many companies and individuals can come together to help us help these wonderful animals who give so much love in return.”
Donations to the campaign can be made by calling 604 266 9744 or by visiting the campaign web page.
Most Canadians are against rodeo so why is it being celebrated at the Grey Cup? - November 22, 2019
November 22, 2019
Most Canadians are against rodeo so why is it being celebrated at the Grey Cup?
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Canadian Football League (CFL) to cancel a rodeo being held as part of this year’s Grey Cup Festival in Calgary. The call comes as a new poll shows that a majority of Canadians are opposed to rodeo. The poll, by Research Co., found that almost three-in-five Canadians (59%) are opposed to using animals in rodeos, with only 34 per cent in favour. Even in Alberta, 49 per cent of residents oppose rodeo, according to the poll.
“The Grey Cup Festival is a national event, supposedly representing Canadian culture and values,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker, “So why is the CFL including a rodeo, which most Canadians oppose?”
Fricker added that the public outrage at the deaths of six horses at this year’s Calgary Stampede and the Stampede’s long history of controversy over animal deaths and cruelty made it hard to understand why the CFL would associate itself with rodeo.
“It seems tone-deaf for the CFL to link Canadian football to rodeo at the league’s premiere event,” he said.
VHS has launched a campaign asking the public to urge the CFL to drop the rodeo from its Grey Cup plans.
Vancouver Humane Society calls on CFL to drop rodeo from Grey Cup celebrations - September 23, 2019
September 23, 2019
Vancouver Humane Society calls on CFL to drop rodeo from Grey Cup celebrations
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Canadian Football League (CFL) to drop plans to hold a rodeo as part of this year’s Grey Cup Festival in Calgary.
“After the public outrage at the deaths of six horses at this year’s Calgary Stampede and the Stampede’s long history of controversy over animal deaths and cruelty, it’s hard to understand why the CFL would associate itself with rodeo,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker.
Fricker pointed to polling that shows a majority of Canadians (63%) are opposed to rodeo, as are virtually all animal welfare organizations.
“As the Grey Cup is a national event, including a rodeo is clearly unrepresentative of Canadian values and interests,” Fricker said. “People in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, where CFL attendance has been in decline, have little interest in rodeos.” He noted that Vancouver banned rodeos in 2006.
Fricker said the CFL should look to the example of the National Basketball Association and the Toronto Raptors, which marketed family-friendly entertainment to a diverse and inclusive audience that represented modern Canadian values.
“It seems tone-deaf for the CFL to link Canadian football to rodeo at the league’s premiere event,” he said.
VHS has launched a campaign asking the public to urge the CFL to drop the rodeo from its Grey Cup plans.
Chuckwagon race is a national disgrace says Vancouver Humane Society - July 15, 2019
Chuckwagon race is a national disgrace says Vancouver Humane Society
VANCOUVER, July 15, 2019 /CNW/
The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Calgary Stampede to cancel next year’s chuckwagon race after three more horses died in the event on the last day of the Stampede. A total of six horses have died in this year’s event.
A horse died in the race last year and more than 65 chuckwagon horses have died at the Stampede since 1986.
“This is a national disgrace,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker. “Horses die virtually every year in this event. The chuckwagon race clearly puts horses at undue risk of injury and death.”
VHS is calling on the Stampede to cancel the race and set up a panel of independent experts to review the event to determine if it can be made safer. Fricker said companies that sponsor the race should withdraw their support until this happens.
VHS says the Stampede rodeo should also eliminate calf-roping and steer-wrestling, which it says cause the animals fear, pain and stress for the sake of entertainment.
Vancouver Humane Society calls for suspension of Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race - July 9, 2019
Vancouver Humane Society calls for suspension of Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race
VANCOUVER, July 9, 2019 /CNW/ – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Calgary Stampede to suspend its chuckwagon race after yet another horse died in the event on Monday. A horse died in the race last year and more than 60 chuckwagon horses have died at the Stampede since 1986.
“Horses die in this race virtually every year,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker. “The chuckwagon race clearly puts horses at undue risk of injury and death.”
VHS is calling on the Stampede to suspend the race and set up a panel of independent experts to review the event to determine if it can be made safer. Fricker said companies that sponsor the race should withdraw their support until this happens.
VHS says the Stampede rodeo should also eliminate calf-roping and steer-wrestling, which it says cause the animals fear, pain and stress for the sake of entertainment.
Why is the veterinary profession silent about cruelty to rodeo animals? - July 4, 2019
Why is the veterinary profession silent about cruelty to rodeo animals?
VANCOUVER, July 4, 2019 /CNW/ – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) to speak out against cruel rodeo events at the Calgary Stampede and rodeos across Canada. More than 1400 people have emailed the CVMA about the issue, as part of a VHS campaign.
The society says the CVMA should act in accordance with its own position on the use of animals in entertainment by taking a public stand against inhumane rodeo events.
The CVMA’s position statement on animals being used in entertainment and recreation states that it “opposes activities, contests, or events that have a high probability of causing injury, distress, or illness.” It also states that: “Animals should not be forced to perform actions or tasks that result in physical or mental distress or discomfort.”
VHS says it is self-evident that animals in certain rodeo events are forced to perform actions that result in, at the very least, distress and discomfort. “So why is the CVMA silent on the abuse of these animals, which are subjected to fear, pain and stress for the sake of entertainment,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.
Fricker points out that the CVMA website says “Animal welfare advocacy is a priority of the CVMA and the Canadian Veterinary Oath requires CVMA members to “prevent and relieve animal suffering.”
“The CVMA needs to live up to its principles and take a public stand against rodeo cruelty,” said Fricker.
Civic election candidates surveyed on animal welfare issues - October 9, 2018
October 9, 2018
Civic election candidates surveyed on animal welfare issues
Vancouver Humane Society puts questions to Metro Vancouver candidates
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is asking civic election candidates to state their position on a range of animal welfare issues. VHS surveyed candidates in Metro Vancouver who are running for mayor, city council, school board and Vancouver park board and is publishing their responses on its website.
The survey asked candidates their positions on issues such as factory farming; keeping cetaceans in captivity; plant-based diets; using animals in entertainment; pet-friendly housing; and Meatless Mondays.
“Our survey will give candidates an opportunity to state their views on animal issues and will allow voters to evaluate those views,” said VHS program coordinator Emily Pickett. “We’ll update the survey responses on our website to ensure voters have the latest information.”
Pickett said VHS will not be telling voters to favour any particular candidate, as this is prohibited by charity regulations, but will encourage voters to respond to the candidates’ views and to engage them in conversation about animal welfare.
New poll shows majority of Chilliwack residents oppose rodeos - October 1, 2018
October 1, 2018
New poll shows majority of Chilliwack residents oppose rodeos
Chilliwack election candidates asked to state position on local rodeo
Vancouver- The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has asked candidates for Chilliwack mayor and council to state their position on the controversial Chilliwack Fair rodeo, as a new poll reveals that most Chilliwack residents are opposed to rodeos.
The poll, commissioned by VHS from Research Co., found that 52 per cent of Chilliwack residents are opposed to rodeos, with 40 per cent in favour. VHS has provided each candidate with the poll results.
The poll also found that 62 per cent of B.C. residents are opposed to rodeos, with 29 per cent in favour. It also found that 70 per cent of B.C. residents aged 18 to 34 are opposed to rodeo, with 25 per cent in favour.
“The poll shows that most people in Chilliwack don’t agree with rodeos and we’d like to hear the candidates’ response to that,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “It also shows that there is little support for rodeo among younger people in B.C., suggesting rodeos will become even more unpopular in the coming years.”
Fricker said that VHS hoped candidates would be forthcoming with their views, given the public controversy over the Chilliwack Fair rodeo during the summer. “We think people running for office should be willing to give their position on a matter of public interest,” he said. Each candidate was contacted by email on September 25.
Photos show electric shock devices in use at Chilliwack Fair rodeo - August 16, 2018
Photos show electric shock devices in use at Chilliwack Fair rodeo
Vancouver Humane Society calls on Fair to explain why
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has obtained photographs showing an electric shock device apparently being used on animals at last weekend’s Chilliwack Fair rodeo. VHS says such devices are cruel and should not be used to make rodeo animals perform. The society says it will make a formal complaint to the fair and will demand an explanation as to why the electric prods were present.
VHS says the photos show the device being held by a man preparing bulls for release from the chutes in several bull-riding events at the rodeo. The device appears to be an electric prod known as a “Hot-Shot”, which can generate 4500 volts.
“No animal should be exposed to electric shocks just to make them perform for a crowd,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Rodeo animals already suffer from being roped, spurred and goaded into performing. Now they have to endure electric shocks as well?”
VHS also obtained a number of other photos at the rodeo, which it says clearly shows rodeo animals in distress.
Pamela Anderson tweets her opposition to Chilliwack Fair rodeo - August 8, 2018
August 8, 2018
Pamela Anderson tweets her opposition to Chilliwack rodeo
“Let’s end rodeo cruelty in Chilliwack,” says celebrity animal lover
Superstar and B.C. native Pamela Anderson has added her voice to a campaign against B.C.’s Chilliwack Fair rodeo, which starts this Friday.
Anderson yesterday tweeted her support for the campaign by the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) calling for an end to cruel rodeo events at the fair. Her tweet to more than a million Twitter followers said: “Let’s end rodeo cruelty in Chilliwack.”
VHS has been calling for an end to cruel events such as calf-roping, steer-wrestling and team-roping at the fair’s annual rodeo and urging local businesses and residents not to support the event. “There is no doubt that animals suffer in rodeos and people who care about animals should take a stand against the cruelty involved, said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.
“We appreciate Ms. Anderson’s support and acknowledgment of the inherent cruelty involved,” Fricker said.
VHS has published online photos of rodeo animals in distress taken at previous Chilliwack Fairs.
Vancouver Humane Society calls for chuckwagon race to be suspended after horse dies – July 12, 2018
VANCOUVER, July 12, 2018 /CNW/ – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Calgary Stampede to suspend its chuckwagon race after yet another horse had to be euthanized after being injured in the event on Wednesday. More than 60 chuckwagon horses have died at the Stampede since 1986.
“Nearly every year horses die in this race, which clearly puts them at undue risk of injury and death,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker. “The Stampede has failed to stop horses dying and the public should let them know this is unacceptable.”
VHS is calling on the Stampede to suspend the race and set up a panel of independent experts to review the event to determine if it can be made safer. Fricker said companies that sponsor the race should withdraw their support until this happens. VHS is also urging the Stampede rodeo to eliminate calf-roping and steer-wrestling, which it says are undeniably cruel.
The Vancouver Humane Society is a registered charity dedicated to the humane treatment of animals.
Still no charges in horrific 2017 Chilliwack animal cruelty case - May 30, 2018
May 30, 2018
Still no charges in horrific 2017 Chilliwack animal cruelty case
Vancouver Humane Society calls on BC Attorney General to act
Vancouver- The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on B.C. Attorney General David Eby to ensure those responsible for extreme acts of animal cruelty in a June 2017 animal abuse case in Chilliwack are brought to justice.
It has been nearly a year since animal advocacy group Mercy for Animals released disturbing undercover video of workers at a Chilliwack poultry farm allegedly abusing and torturing live chickens. The video showed chickens being kicked, stomped on, sexually abused and having their limbs torn off.
The B.C. SPCA has produced a report for Crown Counsel recommending animal cruelty charges, but no charges have been laid.
In a letter to the Attorney General, VHS says: “We are concerned at this undue delay and any potential impact it might have on a successful prosecution proceeding. There would no doubt be considerable public outrage if the alleged perpetrators of these extreme acts of cruelty were not brought to justice.”
The letter calls on the Attorney General to “take whatever action is necessary to expedite Crown Counsel’s work on this case.”
Animal protection groups raise plight of wildlife and pets caught in cruel glue traps - May 22, 2018
May 22, 2018
Animal protection groups raise plight of wildlife and pets caught in glue traps
Heartbreaking photos illustrate impact on birds and other animals
Vancouver – B.C. animal protection groups say wildlife and pets are being caught in inhumane glue traps used for rodent control.
The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has been calling for local retailers, including Rona, The Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Walmart Canada, to stop selling the traps because of the cruelty to rodents, which suffer slow, painful deaths when they become stuck in the traps. VHS says there are alternatives to the traps, including measures to exclude rodents from the home.
But glue traps are also causing wildlife to suffer, as the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. and the B.C. SPCA have confirmed with heartbreaking photographic evidence of wildlife and even pets being inadvertently caught in the sticky traps.
Wildlife Rescue says it has encountered 74 animals caught in glue traps in the last three years, including songbirds, bats, a hummingbird and a squirrel. The B.C. SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) has also treated a number of animals suffering in glue traps, most recently a house sparrow that did not survive. The society also pointed to the case of a kitten caught in a glue trap in Kelowna in 2015, which survived thanks to treatment at the Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.
“Retailers need to stop selling these cruel traps, which are causing wildlife to suffer, as well as their intended victims,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.
“Every year Wildlife Rescue is reminded of the deadly consequences these glue traps have on our local wildlife,” said Sam Smith, spokesperson for Wildlife Rescue. “As long as glue traps are offered to the public, wildlife will suffer.”
“The public assumes that because these products are sold at major retailers, they are humane and they are effective in solving problems, when it is just the opposite. Animals caught on the sticky traps linger in panic, struggling to get free, injuring themselves or dying from shock, exhaustion, dehydration, or suffocation. These traps should never be sold to the public,” said Sara Dubois, B.C. SPCA Chief Scientific Officer.
Vancouver Humane Society calls for Garden Bros. Circus performances to be cancelled - October 12, 2017
October 12, 2017
Vancouver Humane Society calls for Garden Bros. Circus performances to be cancelled
Society raises animal welfare and safety concerns
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling for the B.C. performances of the Garden Bros. Circus to be cancelled because of concerns over the circus’s animal welfare record.
The circus has performances scheduled for Kamloops (October 19), Vernon (October 20) and Chillliwack (October 22). VHS says it is asking each of the venues to cancel the circus’s appearance.
VHS says Garden Bros. has a poor animal welfare record, which has been well-documented by animal protection groups. Although the circus will apparently only feature dogs and ponies on its B.C. tour, it has faced past allegations of mistreatment of elephants and other animals in the United States.
A report by a veterinarian engaged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in June concluded two elephants in the circus’s care were “…suffering physically, in a state of psychological deterioration, and compromised welfare attributable to their standard of care and living conditions…”
A PETA press release in September also reported claims by a former Garden Bros. employee that elephants in its care “…were electrically shocked backstage and left dripping blood from wounds inflicted by bullhooks…”
Another U.S. group, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, has published a report detailing a long record of alleged animal abuses, poor business practices and customer complaints.
In September, the circus’s performance in Winnipeg was shut down due to safety concerns, with media reports quoting parents’ complaints that the performance was a “disaster.”
“Clearly, this circus has a record that should ring alarm bells with the venues where it is scheduled to appear,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “All its performances should be cancelled.”
Vancouver Humane Society to resume campaign against rodeo cruelty at Chilliwack Fair - September 18, 2017
September 18, 2017
Vancouver Humane Society to resume campaign against rodeo cruelty at Chilliwack Fair
Fair refuses to drop steer-wrestling and calf-roping from rodeo
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) will resume its campaign against animal cruelty at the Chilliwack Fair rodeo, following a decision by the Chilliwack Fair Board of Directors to retain steer-wrestling and calf-roping.
The Fair had stated in August that it would review the two events but today announced that it would only modify rules on how they are carried out, rather than cancel them.
“The rule changes will make no significant difference to animal welfare at the rodeo,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Terrified calves will still be roped and thrown to the ground and steers will still have their necks twisted until they are forced off their feet.”
Fricker said the rule changes do nothing to address the fact that animals are being subjected to fear, stress and pain for the sake of entertainment.
VHS will resume its campaign against the rodeo at next year’s Chilliwack Fair. “We will redouble our efforts to bring public attention to the rodeo and we will raise concerns about additional events such as team-roping,” said Fricker.
BC SPCA and VHS seek leave to intervene in Vancouver Aquarium lawsuit against City of Vancouver Park Board - September 7, 2017
UPDATE (Sept 19, 2017): We are disappointed to report that the B.C. Supreme court has not granted VHS and the BC SPCA leave to intervene in the Vancouver Aquarium’s lawsuit against the Vancouver Park Board.
Today (Sept 7), as described in the press release below, VHS is joining with the BC SPCA in seeking to speak on behalf of the animals who may be affected by any challenge to the Vancouver Park Board bylaw that currently bans the keeping of cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Sept. 7, 2017. For immediate release. Vancouver – The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) and the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) are seeking leave at the British Columbia Supreme Court to intervene in the Vancouver Aquarium’s lawsuit against the Vancouver Park Board. The aquarium’s lawsuit aims to invalidate a bylaw passed by the Park Board that bans the keeping of cetaceans in Stanley Park.
The BC SPCA and the VHS fully support the ban on cetaceans at the park because they say the animals’ complex needs cannot be met in captivity, which compromises their welfare.
Both organizations believe that if the bylaw is struck down, it could deter elected officials from considering animal welfare when drafting laws that impact animals. They say it would also set a dangerous precedent, limiting their ability to influence the drafting and implementation of laws affecting animals.
If granted intervenor status by the court, the BC SPCA and the VHS will submit that the Park Board is acting within its legislative capacity and is exercising its authority in the public interest, which includes consideration of the humane treatment of animals.
“If this bylaw is overturned it will not only compromise the welfare of cetaceans, it could undermine animal welfare across Canada,” said VHS executive director Debra Probert.
“The BC SPCA believes this bylaw serves the best interests of cetaceans. As an organization that speaks out on behalf of wild, companion and farm animals, we have a responsibility to support laws and bylaws that promote good welfare,” says Craig Daniell, chief executive officer of the BC SPCA.
The BC SPCA is the largest animal welfare organization of its kind in North America and the largest animal sheltering society in the world. The VHS is a registered charity dedicated to the humane treatment of animals. Both organizations are being represented by Vancouver lawyer Rebeka Breder of Breder Law.
The BC SPCA/VHS application to intervene is available here.
Vancouver Humane Society calls for end to cruel rodeo events at Chilliwack Fair - July 26, 2017
July 26, 2017
Vancouver Humane Society calls for end to cruel rodeo events at Chilliwack Fair
Society says photos from 2016 fair show rodeo animals suffering
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling for an end to calf-roping and steer-wrestling at the upcoming Chilliwack Fair rodeo (August 11-13).
VHS has written to Chilliwack City Council asking for a ban on the two events and has also called on the Chilliwack Agricultural Society, which runs the fair, to voluntarily drop them from the rodeo program. VHS has launched an online campaign to urge the public to contact the council, the fair and its sponsors to ask for an end to the events.
VHS says calf-roping and steer-wrestling subject animals to fear, pain and stress for the sake of mere entertainment. “Terrified calves, only three months old, are chased, roped to a sudden halt, picked up and thrown to the ground before being tied up and steers have their necks twisted until the are literally bent to the ground,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Tormenting animals to amuse a crowd should be unacceptable in the 21st century.”
VHS obtained photographs taken at the 2016 Chilliwack Fair, which it says show rodeo animals in distress.
A 2015 survey by polling company Insights West found that 66 per cent of B.C. residents are opposed to rodeos.
Sir Paul McCartney praises Metro Vancouver Meatless Monday effort - June 12, 2017
June 12, 2017
For immediate release
Sir Paul McCartney praises Meatless Monday effort in Metro Vancouver
Former Beatle sends message to Vancouver Humane Society
Sir Paul McCartney has sent a message via the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) praising the cities of Vancouver, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Port Moody for proclaiming Meatless Monday on May 15th in their communities. Meatless Monday raises awareness about the links between diet and the environment, health and animal welfare. The superstar and animal lover wrote:
“Congratulations to Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, New Westminster and Port Moody for going meat free on Monday 15 May. A great step forward in showing how easy and fun it is to have meat free days and help protect the planet from climate change. Well done. Love Paul and family.” – Paul McCartney
The proclamations were inspired by the ongoing Meatless Monday initiatives of VHS and local schools. To date, eleven secondary and post-secondary institutions are pairing meatless options on Mondays with information on the benefits of plant-based eating. VHS is sharing Sir Paul’s message with the four municipalities and the participating schools.
Meatless Monday is a global initiative, active in more than 30 countries and growing in popularity in Metro Vancouver. The campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about the impact of food choices and improving access to humane, healthy and sustainable food options. Reducing our overconsumption of animal products and increasing our consumption of plant-based foods helps fight climate change, protects individual and public health and reduces the demand for cheap meat that drives factory farming.
UBC hosts Canada’s first-ever plant-based culinary training and summit for food service professionals - May 29, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2017
UBC hosts Canada’s first-ever plant-based culinary training and summit for food service professionals
Vancouver – Chefs and food service professionals from across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island and from as far as Winnipeg will be gathering this week at UBC for Canada’s first “Forward Food Culinary Training & Summit”. This workshop has helped over 1,100 food service professionals in the United States meet growing demand for healthier, more sustainable and cost-effective menu items.
Hosted by UBC Food Services, in partnership with Humane Society International/Canada, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Vancouver Humane Society, the two-day culinary experience will help chefs refine their plant-based cooking skills and will offer hands-on training, led by Chef Wanda White, former Executive Operations Chef at the University of North Texas who opened the U.S.’s first vegan university dining hall. Chef Wanda will instruct attendees on how to prepare delicious meatless, eggless, and dairy-free entrees that will appeal to guests of all dietary preferences.
“It’s wonderful to see the high level of enthusiasm for plant-based meals among chefs and food service managers in BC,” said Gabriel Wildgen, Campaign Manager for HSI/Canada. “We expect this event to be the first of many across Canada. Together with our partners in the education and nutrition, we’re creating healthier, more sustainable communities, all while providing delicious meals that cut costs.”
Following the May 29th and 30th culinary training will be a Forward Food Summit on May 31st, geared towards food service professionals and offering insights into the latest trends in both implementing and marketing plant-based menu items. The summit includes a series of speakers, a cooking demonstration, lunch at the UBC Farm (weather permitting) and opportunities for attendees to share skills in a peer-to-peer environment.
“UBC Food Services is passionate about this topic,” said Melissa Baker, Registered Dietitian and Manager of Nutrition and Wellbeing with UBC Food Services. “We know about the many health benefits of eating a primarily plant-based diet, including a reduced risk for chronic disease. Plant-based diets are also more sustainable. This event is an opportunity for our food services team and other institutions to raise awareness of these benefits and to better meet the growing demand for plant-based offerings in food service operations across Canada.”
UBC Food Services intends to incorporate some of the recipes being featured in the culinary training into campus menus, including at a dedicated vegetarian stations at all three residence dining halls starting September 2017.
Plant-based eating is gaining momentum throughout Metro Vancouver and beyond, with new veggie-based restaurants and meat-alternatives launching on a regular basis. Meanwhile, meat-reduction initiatives like Meatless Monday are being embraced by local students, who are helping add plant-based items to cafeteria menus with the help of the Vancouver Humane Society.
“We’re thrilled to be supporting eleven local schools with their Meatless Monday campaigns and the feedback so far has been very positive,” said Emily Pickett, Program Coordinator for the Vancouver Humane Society. “Students passionate about health and sustainability have been keen to introduce their peers to the delicious world of plant-based eating and Meatless Monday is a great way to do just that.”
In an effort to support the participating schools and to highlight the benefits of reducing our overconsumption of animal products, the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver, New Westminster and Port Moody each passed proclamations earlier this month declaring Monday, May 15th as “Meatless Monday.”
All of this makes veg-friendly Vancouver the prime location for Canada’s first “Forward Food Culinary Training & Summit” and organizers are excited to help attendees get creative with plant-centred plates at this sold-out event.
Today is Meatless Monday in Vancouver - May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017
Today is Meatless Monday in Vancouver
Students lead the way, as more schools offer plant-based meals
Vancouver – In an effort to raise awareness of the links between diet and the environment, health and animal welfare, the Cities of Vancouver, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Port Moody have proclaimed today Meatless Monday. Students in Metro Vancouver are leading the way in introducing the concept, with a number of secondary and post-secondary schools offering plant-based meals in their food facilities on Mondays.
To mark the occasion Vancouver Councillor Adriane Carr will visit David Thompson Secondary at 1755 E 55th Avenue at 11:30 a.m. to congratulate students and staff on the success of their Meatless Monday initiative.
Eleven Metro Vancouver schools will be participating by offering at least one meatless dish on their menu in addition to their regular menu items. Two of these schools, Argyle Secondary and Lord Byng Secondary, are launching their initiatives today.
The Carnegie Community Centre, which serves the Downtown Eastside, will be offering a special Meatless Monday menu today. The centre aims to offer healthy, culturally diverse and delicious food on a daily basis for the community.
Meatless Monday is a global initiative, active in more than 30 countries and growing in popularity in Metro Vancouver. The campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about the impact of food choices and improving access to humane, healthy and sustainable food options. Reducing our overconsumption of animal products and increasing our consumption of plant-based foods helps fight climate change, protects individual/public health and reduces the demand for cheap meat that drives factory farming.
Vancouver Humane Society questions Vancouver Aquarium’s claims on marine mammal rescue - April 27, 2017
April 27, 2017
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is questioning claims by the Vancouver Aquarium that its marine mammal rescue program is threatened by a ban on cetacean display at the aquarium. The Vancouver Park Board voted in March to amend a bylaw to ban the display of cetaceans at the aquarium.
VHS points out that other major wildlife rehabilitation facilities in British Columbia do not put rescued animals on public display, despite dealing with many more rescues than the aquarium.
“Wildlife rehabilitation is not about rescuing animals to put them on display,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “The mandate is to rehabilitate and release animals.” He said the aquarium’s current non-releasable rescued animals do not need to be on display to meet their welfare needs.
VHS argues that the aquarium should seek to work with the Whale Sanctuary Project, which is proposing to establish sea-pen sanctuaries for former captive cetaceans and non-releasable rescued cetaceans.
Vancouver proclaims May 15 Meatless Monday - April 10, 2017
April 10, 2017
Vancouver proclaims May 15 Meatless Monday
Metro mayors urged to follow suit
Vancouver – The City of Vancouver has proclaimed May 15 Meatless Monday and the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on other Metro Vancouver municipalities to join the Meatless Monday movement with their own proclamations of support.
A number of institutions throughout Metro Vancouver are participating in the movement, including ten schools offering meatless dishes on their Monday menus. VHS has supported student groups and food service providers in bringing the initiative to their cafeterias by sharing tips, best practices and resources and helping to promote the concept.
Meatless Monday is a global initiative, active in more than 30 countries and growing in popularity in Metro Vancouver. The campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about the impact of food choices and improving access to humane, healthy and sustainable food options.
VHS has written to mayors and councils in Metro Vancouver, explaining the concept and encouraging them to pass a similar proclamation in solidarity with not only the City of Vancouver, but also the schools, organizations and residents who are actively participating.
“We’re thrilled that Vancouver is supporting this initiative. As a city committed to developing food systems that are sustainable and that support community well-being, Vancouver is taking a step in the right direction,” said Emily Pickett, VHS’s Program Coordinator. “This also serves as an inspiration for those looking to do their part to help tackle issues like factory farming, climate change and public health.
“Every time we sit down to eat, we have the chance to stand up for a kinder, cleaner and healthier community. This is what Meatless Monday is all about and we’re encouraging Metro Vancouver residents to join us on Monday, May 15 in this effort.”
Vancouver Aquarium should end cetacean captivity now - February 20, 2017
February 20, 2017
Vancouver Aquarium should end cetacean captivity now
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) says the Vancouver Aquarium should end cetacean captivity now and not import more beluga whales to the facility. VHS says the aquarium’s announcement that it will import several belugas and put them on display until 2029 appears to be a tactic to pre-empt a potential decision by the Vancouver Park Board to end cetacean captivity much sooner. VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker said the aquarium should not waste its resources on expanding its captive cetacean facility. “The tanks should stay empty and the money should instead be used to work with the Whale Sanctuary Project.” The Whale Sanctuary Project is a non-profit group of scientists and other professionals working on the development of a seaside sanctuary for whales and dolphins who might be retired from entertainment facilities or rescued from injury or sickness in the wild. VHS is also concerned that the aquarium may use its rescue program as a loophole to acquire cetaceans for its new facility. “We worry that rather than aim for genuine rescue and release, the aquarium will aim for rescue and retain. They haven’t promised to end captivity, only the display of belugas.” VHS is skeptical about the aquarium’s claims to use the imported belugas for research. A report published by VHS and Zoocheck found that the value of the aquarium’s captive cetacean research to date is questionable.
Report challenges claims that keeping whales and dolphins captive is justifiable - December 14, 2016
For Immediate Release
December 14, 2016
REPORT CHALLENGES CLAIMS THAT KEEPING WHALES AND DOLPHINS CAPTIVE IS JUSTIFIABLE
The recent deaths of beluga whales Qila and Aurora have thrust the issue of captive display of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in Vancouver back into the spotlight. The Vancouver Humane Society and Zoocheck Canada are holding a media conference to discuss captive cetacean issues and release a new report, A Crumbling Case for Cetacean Captivity? that specifically examines the kind of cetacean information provided to the general public and the impact of captive cetacean-associated research, and challenges some of the industry’s claims.
“Whale advocates, experts and members of the public have long been skeptical of the industry’s publicly-stated reasons for keeping cetaceans captive,” states Debra Probert, Executive Director of the Vancouver Humane Society. “Many of those arguments are now being vigorously challenged. We decided to look into a couple of key aspects of education and research at two captive cetacean facilities to see if they are really making a difference in the lives of wild cetaceans.”
“Given that the biological and behavioural needs of whales and dolphins cannot be met in an aquarium and there is little, if any, value in the education or conservation programs associated with keeping cetaceans on exhibition, it is time to empty the tanks,” said Zoocheck Campaigns Director Julie Woodyer.
According to marine mammal scientist Dr. Naomi Rose, “Society’s attitude toward whale and dolphin captivity is changing rapidly. Recently, Ontario banned the possession of orcas, the National Aquarium announced plans to retire its dolphins to a seaside sanctuary, SeaWorld pledged to end the breeding of its captive orcas, the State of California codified this corporate policy in law, the Whale Sanctuary Project was formed to establish the first cold water cetacean sanctuary in the world and the US government designated the Sakhalin-Amur population of belugas in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk as depleted, meaning the import of these animals is prohibited. The times they are a’changin’ and Vancouver needs to evolve and change as well.”
Speakers include Debra Probert, Executive Director, Vancouver Humane Society; Julie Woodyer, Campaigns Director, Zoocheck Inc.; Dr. Rebecca Ledger, animal behaviourist; Dr. Sara Dubois, Chief Science Officer, British Columbia SPCA, and; Dr. Naomi Rose, Marine Mammal Scientist, Animal Welfare Institute.
When: Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 11:00 AM
Where: 1430 Segal Centre, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St.,Vancouver
Contact: Julie Woodyer, Zoocheck, 416-451-5976 Debra Probert, Vancouver Humane Society, 778-994-9744
VHS urges Whistler Film Festival to resist pressure to withdraw sled dog film - December 1, 2016
Vancouver Humane Society urges Whistler Film Festival to resist pressure to withdraw sled dog film
VANCOUVER, Dec. 1, 2016 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is urging the Whistler Film Festival to resist calls from the sled dog industry to withdraw a documentary questioning the treatment of dogs within the industry. The film, Sled Dogs, is set to premiere at the festival this Saturday.
According to media reports, the festival has received letters from lawyers calling for the film to be withdrawn and has attracted opposition on social media. VHS, which was interviewed for the film, says it’s important that people see what the documentary reveals and make up their own minds.
“This is a matter of free speech,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker. “The plight of dogs used in this industry needs to be exposed. We hope the festival will not succumb to pressure to silence those who question the treatment of sled dogs.”
VHS campaigned for a ban on sled dog tours and races in 2011, following revelations that dozens of sled dogs belonging to a Whistler tour company had been brutally killed. Despite public outrage, new regulations introduced by the B.C. government did not end the industry practice of tethering dogs for long periods and it remains legal to kill dogs by gunshot.
Top Canadian animal groups call on A&W to go cage-free - February 2, 2016
VANCOUVER, Feb. 2, 2016 /CNW/ – Six leading Canadian animal protection agencies today called on A&W Food Services of Canada to stop using eggs from caged-hens. A joint letter – signed by Animal Justice, the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Farmed Animals, Humane Society International/Canada, Mercy for Animals Canada and the Vancouver Humane Society – urges the fast-food chain to join the growing number of food companies switching to cage-free eggs.
Despite announcements by other restaurant chains, including Tim Hortons and McDonald’s Canada, that they will go cage-free, A&W has committed to using “enriched cages” for laying hens, which are only slightly larger than the notoriously cruel battery cages that have been widely condemned.
The joint letter, addressed to A&W CEO Paul Hollands, states: “Enriched cages severely restrict important physical activities including running, flying and wing-flapping and do not permit unrestrained perching and dustbathing.” The letter says consumers have turned against eggs from caged hens and that, “To them and to the wider public, a cage is a cage.”
An online petition calling on A&W to go cage-free has gathered more than 6000 signatures.
Abbotsford newspaper refuses to publish anti-rodeo ad - July 17, 2015
July 17, 2015
Humane society says free speech denied
Vancouver – The Abbotsford News has refused to print a full-page ad from the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) that raises concerns about the treatment of animals at the upcoming Agrifair rodeo (July 31-Aug 3) in Abbotsford. VHS says the rejection is a denial of free speech.
The ad shows a photo of steer-wrestling taken at the Agrifair rodeo in 2008 with a caption asking: “That’s entertainment?” It states that rodeo animals are subjected to fear, pain and stress and urges people who care about animals not to attend the event.
VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker says the ad has been checked by VHS’s lawyers and contained nothing that should preclude publication. “This is simply fair comment on a public issue but it appears the Abbotsford News has a problem with freedom of expression,” said Fricker.
Fricker said VHS had offered to consider amending the ad to meet the newspaper’s concerns but had received no response.
The ad can be seen here.
VHS says public must urge halt to chuckwagonrace - July 13, 2015
Fourth horse dies at Calgary Stampede
VANCOUVER, July 13, 2015 /CNW/ – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on the Canadian public to express its outrage at the death of four horses in the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races, following the death of yet another horse in the event on Sunday.
“The Stampede has made endless excuses about the continued loss of chuckwagon horses and has failed to stop these deaths,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.
“The race is fundamentally unsafe and horses just keep dying,” said Fricker. “People need to let the Stampede know that this is unacceptable.”
VHS has repeatedly called on the Stampede to suspend the race and establish an independent panel of experts to determine if anything can be done to make the race safer.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people have signed a VHS online petition calling for CBC Sports to stop television coverage of the Calgary Stampede rodeo: http://tinyurl.com/pebwa5t
SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society
Stop the chuckwagon race now - July 8, 2015
Stop the chuckwagon race now
Second horse dies at Calgary Stampede
VANCOUVER, Juy 8, 2015 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is repeating its call for the immediate suspension of the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race, following the death of a second horse in three days at the event.
“People across Canada are outraged and they are sick of hearing about the needless death of horses at the Stampede,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker.
VHS says the Stampede should suspend the race and establish a panel of independent equine experts to determine if anything can be done to make the race safer.
SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society
VHS calls on Stampede to suspend chuckwagon race - July 5, 2015
Vancouver Humane Society calls on Stampede to suspend chuckwagon race
VANCOUVER, July 5, 2015 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling for the suspension of the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races after yet another death of a horse in the event. More than 60 horses have died in the race since 1986.
“Horses keep dying in this event and the Stampede is running out of excuses,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “It should be suspended immediately.”
VHS is calling on the Stampede to establish an independent panel of equine experts to determine if anything can be done to make the race safer.
ACTION ALERT: Please sign our petition calling on the CBC to stop covering rodeo cruelty at the Calgary Stampede.
ACTION ALERT: Please email the Abbotsford Agrifair to ask them to stop rodeo cruelty.
Why no charges in dairy cruelty case? - June 8, 2015
Why no charges in dairy cruelty case?
VANCOUVER, June 8, 2015 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling on B.C. Crown Counsel to explain why it has not laid charges in the case of alleged animal cruelty at a dairy farm in Chilliwack last year.
It will be a year on June 9 since the BC SPCA recommended charges against eight employees of Chilliwack Cattle Sales, after an investigation by animal rights advocates revealed alleged acts of extreme cruelty to dairy cows. Video taken at the farm, which showed cows being beaten, kicked and abused, was broadcast by media across the country and provoked widespread public outrage.
VHS contacted Crown Counsel about the case in January but received no response.
VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker said the unusual delay by Crown Counsel was worrying. “We hope the Crown is taking this case seriously and will move forward on charges soon.”
Animal advocates claim victory as Luxton Rodeo calls it quits - February 9, 2015
February 9, 2015
Last rodeo on Vancouver Island is cancelled
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) and Victoria Citizens Against Rodeo Events (VCARE) are claiming victory after news that the Luxton Rodeo in Langford, near Victoria has been cancelled.
The animal protection groups had campaigned for three years to end cruel rodeo events, receiving considerable local and regional support. A number of the rodeo’s sponsors had dropped out as a result of the campaign.
“It’s a great victory for animal welfare,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “It’s a tribute to the progressive and compassionate people of Vancouver Island.”
VCARE Organizer Melissa de Meulles said “No matter what the reason for the cancellation, this is one less rodeo stop for the animals and hopefully the first of many rodeos to close down. Our community can be proud it spoke loudly and stood up for animals.”
The cancellation of the Luxton Rodeo is the second blow to the rodeo industry in recent years. In 2007, after a long campaign by VHS, the Cloverdale Rodeo announced that it would discontinue four key events: calf-roping, steer-wrestling, team-roping and wild cow milking. VHS also convinced the City of Vancouver to ban rodeos in 2006.
VHS response to steer death at Calgary Stampede - July 13, 2014
July 13, 2014
Another animal dies to entertain crowds at Calgary Stampede
Vancouver Humane Society calls on Stampede to end steer-wrestling
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is calling for an end to steer-wrestling at the Calgary Stampede after a steer died in the event yesterday. It is the second year in a row that a steer has had to be euthanized after suffering a severe neck injury in the event.
“This is just blatant animal abuse for the sake of entertainment,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Why should an animal have to suffer and die just to amuse a crowd.”
Fricker pointed out that steer-wrestling has no relation to any ranch practice and serves no agricultural purpose.
“This is just a cruel circus event using livestock,” Fricker said. “Compassionate Canadians need to tell the Stampede to stop it.”
VHS statement on chuckwagon incident - July 8, 2014
July 8, 2014
Vancouver Humane Society says chuckwagon race fundamentally unsafe
Man injured, horse dead in separate incidents at Calgary Stampede
Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) says the Calgary Stampede should suspend its chuckwagon races after a man was injured and a horse was killed in separate incidents at the Stampede chuckwagon track today.
“We are extremely sad to hear about these incidents,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “We hope the injured man makes a full recovery.”
VHS is calling on the Stampede to establish an independent panel of equine and veterinary experts to review the chuckwagon race to see if it can be made safer. “It’s clear that right now this event is fundamentally unsafe and should be suspended until a thorough review can take place,” Fricker said.