We are pleased to announce that Amy Morris has joined VHS as our new Executive Director. Amy has written a note to share with you:
My first best friend was Woody, a loving dog who taught me everything there was to know about social graces. My parents thought it was funny to see me walking around on all fours with every dog I met and took their time to teach me it was socially unacceptable to let them give kisses on my face (that lesson never stuck!)
While communicating with dogs was second nature, it took me time to understand the nuances of human social behaviour. I have always enjoyed the honesty and clear communication a dog provides when we take the time to listen.
By the time I was in university working towards a degree in sociology, I was involved in emergency care for pets being hoarded or bred intensively. Two things became clear to me: 1) animals deserve far better than people were providing for them, and 2) the social structures need to change in order to make that possible.
After university, I worked as an auditor for workers’ well-being and ended up in slaughter facilities. I saw first-hand the traumatic acts that workers from other countries were doing, and heard from the owners of the facilities that Canadians were unwilling to do this work. The experience of walking through a doorway and having a deceased pig brush up against me was otherworldly.
I decided to take more steps toward changing social structures and focused on animal welfare while achieving a Master of Public Policy degree at SFU in Vancouver, which led to employment with the BC SPCA for more than seven years. During that time, I took a short leave to work on farms in New Zealand and identify if the better laws for farmed animals resulted in better treatment on the ground. Unfortunately, I still saw farmed animals suffering during this time, including observing workers ‘othering’ the cattle they were working with: hitting them, screaming at them and calling them terrible names. I was ashamed to be human, as these beautiful animals, mothers and children, stared at me in fear.
I am so excited to work with the Vancouver Humane Society toward changing attitudes and systems, making animals’ lives better. Over the next few years, we will be working collectively toward our strategic plan goals: to inspire the community to take action for animals, to eliminate animal suffering, and to make cruelty-free the default option. If you’d like to read our strategic plan in full, visit our Mission and Vision page under Strategic Plan.
I look forward to getting to know you more, please reach out any time.